What a lucky duck.
A mallard in Idaho got a second shot at life after a veterinarian removed a blow dart impaling her face.
The female fowl was rescued last week in Lake Lowell, with a little help from a local student’s inventive senior project. After weeks of failed attempts, Lake Lowell Animal Rescue finally caught the duck on Jan. 25 with a net gun designed by Matthew Gillikin, a grad student at Boise State University, KOMO reports.
"We never would have gotten her before she succumbed to an injury or infection related to this dart without this device, as we literally tried everything else," the animal rescue wrote on Facebook.
Taken into the caring hands of Dr. Karlee Hondo-Rust, a veterinarian at Treasure Valley Veterinary Hospital, the blow dart was successfully removed from the duck’s face soon afterward.
"The dart actually entered just below her eye, so had it been a few millimeters back she would have lost her eye," Hondo-Rust explained.
The mighty mallard is now on the mend with medicine and antibiotics, and the vet is hopeful she can rejoin her friends in the wild in a few weeks.
"This was both one of the more angering things we have seen as well as one of the most rewarding rescues to date," the animal rescue remarked online. "It very literally seems like a miracle."
According to Melissa Blackmer, director of the Lake Lowell Animal Rescue Director, this type of incident has unfortunately happened before. Through the years, she said, there’s been similar reports of other birds and cats being struck with blow darts throughout the valley area.
"I do think there is someone or more than one person going around doing this and it's incredibly unfortunate and very, very cruel. It's a recurring thing, so every few years or so we will get a run of ducks or geese come in because they have been blow-darted and haven't succumbed to their injuries," she told KOMO.
Blackmer urged animal lovers to contact their local rescue or the police if they ever need to report an injured animal.