FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A mallard duck, which locals have taken to calling Cupid, has recovered after spending more than a week with an arrow through its neck at a Continental pond.
The drake was shot by an arrow but could still fly, walk and eat, according to locals. Arizona Game and Fish employees managed to catch the injured duck Thursday and get him to Canyon Pet Hospital, where he was treated for trauma and an infection.
Dubbed Cupid, he was released back into the wild Tuesday.
"It's kind of heartwarming to see how many people are concerned about this one duck who was injured by an unsuccessful hunter," said Shamarra Stuteville, who lives nearby.
The pond is a popular place for people to walk.
Stuteville, as well as other residents, filed reports about the injured drake and lobbied for Game and Fish to come to its aid. Stuteville said she had also been feeding the duck.
Game and Fish officials stated the agency's staff spent 55 hours trying to capture the duck to get it medical treatment. Some residents tried to capture the duck as well.
Ultimately, it took six Game and Fish employees to net the frightened bird Jan. 24.
Two employees stood at opposite ends of the pond with a rope and used the line to herd the ducks. The other employees, two with net guns, crept up on Cupid and finally apprehended him.
Game and Fish officers had also tried to catch Cupid Jan. 22, but struggled because of all the people in the area.
They originally brought a boat, but it was unnecessary because the pond was frozen over.
"It was a major undertaking," said Arizona Game and Fish Officer Clint Adams. Once Cupid was in custody, the arrow basically fell out of the duck, he added.
The duck was taken to Canyon Pet Hospital, where it made a full recovery. The arrow had pierced the duck's upper chest and partially come out the other side.
"Wildlife are pretty tough, so I give him a good chance," said Dr. Julianne Miller, a veterinarian at Canyon Pet Hospital. "When I heard the news an arrow was in a duck I thought we'd be euthanizing a duck, but he's been flying and I think he'll be fine."
Arizona Game and Fish spokesperson Shelly Shepherd said it was legal to hunt ducks using archery at the Country Club Road duck pond. However, a hunting license and appropriate stamps are required and the season ended on Jan. 13.
"In the last few years a state law was passed to allow hunting with specific methods (weapons) in city limits," she said. "The law was intended more to allow hunting in open areas on the outskirts and fringes of lands owned and annexed by municipalities."
She advised that the agency wouldn't recommend hunting at the pond because of the potential threat to human safety.
Shepherd also said whoever shot the duck might not have been a hunter.
Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, http://www.azdailysun.com/