Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), enforce protecting fish and wildlife while preserving environmental quality across New York. This week they had their hands full with lots of rescues.
On June 6, a rehabilitated bald eagle was released back into the wild at Letchworth State Park after being found injured at the park several months ago. The DEC said on December 14, 2019, New York State Park Police requested assistance to capture an injured eagle. The DEC officers transferred the eagle to Cornell University, where specialists determined it needed surgery to place a pin in its wing. After surgery, the eagle was transferred to Messenger Woods Wildlife Care and Education Center, where it underwent extensive rehabilitation in a 165-foot flight cage until ready for release back at Letchworth.
Ball Python Found In Apartment
On June 10, ECO Ron Gross received a complaint from someone who found a python in their apartment. ECO Gros identified the snake as a ball python, a common pet sold at pet stores. No one in the apartment building owned the snake or knew where it came from.
One of the subject's neighbors asked if she could keep the animal as a pet. Since ball pythons are not regulated by DEC and the animal appeared to be in good health, ECO Gross allowed the neighbor to take possession of the animal.
On June 14, a call came in reporting a bear in the city of Beacon. The bear was seen roaming the neighborhood during the day and was very comfortable in the highly populated area. When the bear climbed a tree the ECOs secured the area, moving the growing crowd a safe distance away. A DEC biologist tranquilized the bear and it fell onto pads set up to cushion its fall.
The biologist checked the bear's vitals, tagged it for identification purposes, and released it in a less populated area. The DEC reminds the public not to interact with bears. If left alone and given the opportunity, nearly all bears that wander into urban or suburban areas will leave as quickly and quietly as they appear, without serious conflict or the need for physical removal.
Rattlesnake Living Under Porch
On June 20, ECO Jeff Cox received a call from a concerned homeowner in Copake, reporting a giant rattlesnake on their front porch. Photos proved it was a timber rattlesnake, the largest venomous snake in New York, and listed as a threatened species. The snake would periodically come and go but then was spotted slithering under the house concerning the homeowner.
Members of DEC's Division of Law Enforcement consulted with wildlife staff and decided to trap and relocate the rattlesnake. The DEC said four days after the initial report and a few unsuccessful attempts, ECO Cox wrangled the rattlesnake into a container. It was brought to a known den site in the Taconic Mountains where it was released unharmed. The homeowner probably slept well that night.
On June 21, ECO Brian Willson responded to a call from concerned citizens reporting ducklings trapped in a storm drain in Schenectady. Good Samaritans pitched in to help ECO Willson remove the ducklings from the drain. They were then reunited with their mother and safely relocated to the Schenectady Central Park pond.
In April, employees from the Town of Rotterdam Water and Sewer Department came to the rescue for eight baby ducks stuck in a storm drain.
Milk Snake Found In Live Wire Electrical Box
On June 23, ECOs Nathan Doig and Dustin Osborne received a complaint that a milk snake had found its way into a residence in the town of Davenport and was trapped in a live wire electrical box. Officers responded, bringing their snake tongs and hand tools to remove it safely. The DEC said:
First, ECOs shut off the main breaker as a safety precaution, eliminating power to the house. Next, ECO Osborne removed the cover to the electrical service box while ECO Doig used snake tongs to safely remove the snake from inside the electrical panel.
The snake appeared to have entered the electrical panel through the conduit feed entering the home from outside power lines. ECOs released the snake back into the wild without any harm.