Rafting Guide Battles Rushing Rapids To Save Struggling Duckling

"He slept with the duckling in his hands to keep it warm" 💗

Lewis Wilson, a rafting guide in Llangollen, North Wales, noticed something odd at the bottom of the Town Falls rapids while kayaking on April 18. A group of ducklings was trapped, surrounded by rushing water, with no mom in sight. As the day continued, Wilson couldn’t stop thinking about the ducklings, so he decided to take action.

Rapids rescue of duckling
Facebook/Cuan Wildlife Rescue

He paddled down to the rapids as fast as possible and spotted one duckling still trapped. Scooping the little duckling into his kayak, Wilson paddled to calmer water and was able to bring the duckling ashore.

“After rescuing [the duckling], he kept it overnight with him in his van before he traveled to us the next day,” Deb Bolger, the community fundraiser with Cuan Wildlife Rescue, told The Dodo. “The duckling kept him awake as it was cold. So basically, he slept with the duckling in his hands to keep it warm. As ducklings aren't waterproof, they can die very quickly if they get cold.”

Facebook/Cuan Wildlife Rescue

Once Wilson handed the duckling over to rehabilitators at Cuan Wildlife Rescue, the little duck joined a family of orphaned ducklings, and now they are all being cared for together.

“Lewis, you went above and beyond the call of a raft guide and all of us at Cuan Wildlife Rescue really appreciate your efforts and kindness in rescuing this duckling,” a Facebook post from Cuan Wildlife Rescue reads.

Facebook/Cuan Wildlife Rescue

“The duckling wasn't in a bad state as Lewis had managed to keep it warm during the journey but was hungry,” Bolger said. “The duckling was placed in an incubator with three other ducklings that had been admitted to us a day before.”

Bolger explained that the duckling will stay with Cuan Wildlife Rescue for about 50 to 60 days, the amount of time ducklings usually stay with their mother before they fledge and become independent.

Deb Bolger, Cuan Wildlife Rescue

The duckling Wilson rescued as well as the other ducklings who were brought in the day prior were placed in a pen within Cuan’s bird room, where they met more ducklings and are being kept warm with an electric brooder. “From here they will be transferred to a larger pen with a small pool and heat lamps, and then their last stage will be into our larger outdoor waterfowl pool,” Bolger said. “When they are about 60 days old, they will be released into nearby pools, lakes and rivers.”

Wilson’s duckling and his new friends were also introduced to another duckling at Cuan who was showing signs of depression because he was all alone.

“He was so pleased once the other ducklings started to appear and cheered up to no end,” Bolger said. “They will all be released together back into the wild once they are about 60 days old and will stay together for a time.”

Cuan Wildlife Rescue

Thanks to Wilson’s fearless rescue, the little duckling now has a chance to grow up with new brothers and sisters and live a full and happy life.

If you’d like to support the ducklings’ rehabilitation, you can donate to Cuan Wildlife Rescue directly or through the rescue’s wishlist.