Calif. officers use drone to rescue ducklings in storm drain

Police came up with an unusual solution to locate distressed ducklings in the underground maze


By Joan Morris
Bay Area News Group

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. — In what might be a first, officers with the Dublin Police and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday night used a small drone to locate eight frightened ducklings that had fallen into a storm drain in a Dublin neighborhood.

Dublin Police Lt. Jared Hattaway said residents, alerted by the frantic quacks of the mother duck, called police for assistance. Upon arrival, officers could hear the peeps of the ducklings, but weren’t certain where they were located in the maze of drains and pipes.

The drone, normally used for other law enforcement activities, was sent into the storm drain and, once officers were certain they’d identified where all the ducklings were congregated, an officer went in to retrieve them.

The Dublin Police and Sheriff’s Office have a variety of drones in different sizes, Hattaway says, and were pleased they were able to use the technology for a wildlife rescue.

The ducklings appeared no worse for their unexpected adventure, and after being checking to make sure they weren’t injured, they were taken to a safe place and released from custody.

Ducklings in storm drains can be common at this time of year when mother ducks lead their young charges from their nests to places of water. Hattaway said the department was happy to have helped.

“We’re a full service department,” he said. “If they call us, we go.”

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