'Fear Factor' ordeal to save ducklings
A Wellington woman crawled 30 metres on her hands and toes through a small drain to reach three ducklings that probably would have died if not for her determination to save them.
Meredith Cole squeezed past rubbish and dirt to rescue three ducklings after finding them near a rubbish tip yesterday afternoon.
Cole and her husband had visited the tip to drop off some grass clippings. They started driving away from the dump when Cole noticed a group of ducklings in a distressed state because they couldn't get out of the shallow culvert they had found themselves in.
She managed to rescue three but three others ran into a nearby drain, 30 metres long and just the width of her shoulders.
"They were only two or three days old, they were just tiny," she said.
"I was crouched on one end throwing stones trying to get them to come out the other end but they had just given up."
One looked close to death. When a man pulled over to see what was going on and told her they would probably all die, she decided she would do everything she could to make sure that didn't happen.
"It was a bit like Fear Factor. I didn't want to go in, but I did.
"All I could do was drag myself on my elbows and push on my toes. I was just planking through for 30 metres," she said.
"If it had been today the drain would have been rained out.
"Two of them were in quite a bad way, but I just put them down my top and took them home."
Cole called the SPCA who put her on to duck man Craig Shepherd.
She kept the birds at home overnight and took them to Shepherd today.
There are about 160 ducks at Shepherd's duck rehabilitation centre in Johnsonville.
Most are ducklings who have become separated from their mothers for one reason or another.
"Without their mothers they are dead within hours, particularly in weather like this," Shepherd said.
The mother protects her ducklings from predators, keeps them warm and gives them the oils they need to be healthy.
Shepherd will look after them for several months before finding them a new home.
The Dominion Post