Sunday 17 November 2019

A helping hand

•I am a newcomer to Ireland the land of my grandparents, having been hounded out of Zimbabwe. I have now been here a year.

When I arrived last year in spring I could not believe how incredibly beautiful the country was.

Earlier this year, I witnessed the first Mallard ducklings making their appearance on the Grand Canal and a rare pair of garganay and shelduck ducks, to boot. Spring was in the air and I was in love with the country.

Imagine my horror, then, when a few days later whilst on my daily jog along the river I spotted an extremely anxious Mallard duck squawking frantically to her tiny baby ducklings trapped between the gates of lock number 4 outside the Mespil Hotel. The ducklings could not heed their mother's pleas to follow her out of harm's way; they were too young to fly.

By this stage, only their little heads were breaking the surface as they could no longer stay afloat.

I immediately called the DSPCA and Canalways Ireland, but neither could help in time. All I could do with little time left was to toss a plank into the water as a lifeline to the ducklings. They immediately swam towards the floating plank and hauled themselves out. All it took was that plank to save their lives.

When I got back to Canalways Ireland to offer my simple suggestion to prevent this from happening again (which it must do every day, up and down every canal in Ireland) -- using a simple plank tethered by rope in each lock to prevent it being washed away -- their response was that there was no money to do anything.

Frank van Rensburg
Adelaide Rd, Dublin 2

Irish Independent

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