BY CHEYENNE ELLIS ’21
Community members spotted a goose with an arrow in its body on Lower Lake on Friday, Oct. 19. Reports state that the arrow pierced all the way through the goose’s body. Many students saw the injured goose and both Campus Police and the South Hadley Police Department were contacted.
South Hadley police told Jay Eveson ’20 that they were aware of the goose and that it had been at least two weeks since sightings of the injured animal were first reported. The goose was also spotted at local McCray’s farm. “They said that they would not do anything for the goose because it did not appear to be in distress,” Eveson said.
Aggie Johnson ’21 also spotted the goose while crossing the bridge over Lower Lake on Saturday. “I looked out at the geese in the water and realized one of them had a literal arrow sticking out of either its side or wing,” said Johnson. “It was one of those modern black arrows with green fletching. Besides the arrow, it didn’t seem to have anything wrong with it. It was swimming around and moving its head.”
Employees at McCray’s Farm spotted the goose several times in their pond and contacted officials, who attempted to catch it. As it visited both the lake at Mount Holyoke and the pond at the farm, Campus Police acknowledged, the goose is still able to fly despite its injuries. However, the longer the foreign object remains in its body, the worse the goose’s chance of recovery could be.
“If this goose were to be caught and brought to a wildlife hospital, it may have a chance of surviving,” said Stella Elwood ’19, co-president of the Animal Welfare Association. “Since it has been a while since it was first shot, the injured tissues might be severely infected or necrotic.”
The injured goose was spotted again at Mount Holyoke on Monday and the Massachusetts Environmental Police were dispatched to Lower Lake in search of the goose. Officials searched the lake by canoe for the goose, but were unable to find the goose. Students are advised to call Campus Police if the goose is seen again.
While many students were shocked to see the injured goose on campus, similar incidents are not uncommon throughout Massachusetts and the Northeast, especially during migratory periods for these birds.
“As someone who has worked extensively with Canada geese as an intern at New England Wildlife, and has studied them for my senior thesis, this is upsetting, yet unsurprising, to me,” said Elwood. “Unfortunately, the Massachusetts bow hunting season opens in October, and little can be done to prevent people from shooting at animals. Many of these individuals manage to get away after being shot, and die slowly and painfully as a result of their injuries.”
If students see injured wildlife on campus, they are advised to call Campus Police at (413)-538-2304. In addition to Campus Police, there are wildlife rehabilitation clinics in the area that students can contact, depending on the type of wildlife and injuries. Students are advised to never attempt to approach or help injured wildlife by themselves; instead, they should call the proper authorities and follow their instructions.