Ostrich on ice

Ostrich on the ice
Township Emergency Medical Technician Russ Aderholdt and Jeremy Watson

By David Fleet


Groveland Twp.

-On Feb. 8, the Groveland Township Fire Department responded to Buckell Lake after a 9-1-1 call of an ostrich stuck on the ice.

Steve McGee, township fire chief, said the 400-pound female bird escaped from a nearby farm. Township Emergency Medical Technician Russ Aderholdt and Jeremy Watson responded to the lake and approached the bird about 600 feet off shore on lake ice. While the ostrich was not totally submerged in the water, the ice was thin and had fractured due to the weight of the animal. Donning water rescue suits, the EMTs used a MegaMover to lift the ostrich. The portable unit is constructed of heavy-duty pliable material and more commonly used to transport and rescue human patients from areas inaccessible to stretchers. The nonwoven, latex-free construction can hold up to 1,000 pounds and has 14 handles, six per side, for lifting.

Non-native animals raised in the township are not uncommon.

In 2015 township officials sparred with Premier Animal Attractions, a local business that raised exotic animals such as tamandua anteater, red kangaroo, fennec fox, arctic fox, hamadryas baboon, African serval and tigers. While the unique animals had been in the township for several years the critters did violate the dangerous, wild or exotic animals ordinance and after debate left the township.

However, an ostrich is not considered an exotic animal, said Bob DePalma, township supervisor.

“It’s my understanding the ostrich owner has three birds left,” said DePalma. “I’m happy there were no injuries.”

According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Animal Industry Division, individuals engaged in the business of ostrich or poultry farms are not required to be licensed. However, all imported poultry and hatching eggs should be accompanied with an interstate health certificate issued by a veterinarian that meets all state regulations.


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