Four Goslings Rescued By RNLI Chiswick Lifeboat Crew

Birds had become trapped in a barge moored near Putney

One of the Egyptian Goose goslings rescued on the Thames. Picture: RNLI

On Friday, 25 March, Holly Walters was out on a crew exercise with the RNLI Chiswick Lifeboat on the River Thames when she noticed a baby bird waddling across the deck of a Port of London Authority (PLA) barge near Putney.

On closer inspection, the volunteer found that three other goslings were trapped in the vessel's cargo, cheeping with no safe route out or help from their parents. They turned out to be four newly hatched Egyptian geese.

With no mother goose in sight, Holly alerted the crew of a Port London Authority (PLA) boat nearby, who said they would keep an eye on the goslings, and contacted the Swan Sanctuary charity in south west London to request their support. The following day, at noon, the RNLI volunteer teamed up with Chiswick crew member Tim Hallac and a vet from the Swan Sanctuary and came back to free the trapped goslings.

Holly said, 'It is testament to the caring nature of the volunteers of Chiswick Crew and others that we managed to help these lovely little fellas. When there is great coordination amongst organisations seeking to protect our river and all those creatures (big and small) that live and thrive on it, wonderful things can be achieved!'

During the operation, the goslings scattered around the cargo, finding the most obscure corners and hiding places to stay away from those who came to their rescue. Finally, after half an hour, the vet carefully collected the tiny geese in a box and transported them to the Swan Sanctuary for a check-up. Because their parents had abandoned them, the Swan Sanctuary put the goslings in their crèche in Shepperton, where they will stay with other baby birds until they are old enough to be placed on a lake.

Video from RNLI

Tim Hallac said, 'As soon as I found out about the abandoned tykes, the least I could do was to help Holly and Sally from The Swan Sanctuary get safely to them. After a little reluctance on their part, the animals were helped off the barge and into the caring hands of people who will make sure they receive the best care and treatment.'

Without their help and the care of the Swan Sanctuary, the goslings would not have survived because they were not old enough to fly away.

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 3,700 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people. In 2021, Chiswick RNLI had 222 launches, helped 144 people and saved one life.

If you would like to support the Boat Race and RNLI Thames crews, you can donate here.

For information on how to stay safe on or near water or find out more about their work, visit Chiswick RNLI’s website.

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April 5, 2022