Famous Ducks at Oakland's Lake Merritt Find New Home

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Two domestic ducks that were likely dumped at Oakland's Lake Merritt by a careless pet owner have found a new temporary home thanks to a mother-daughter duo that saved them.

After Dawn Rogers and her daughter, Kat Despain, got wind of the ducks, which aren't cut out to survive on their own in the wild, they scooped up the birds from the lake and brought them to Rancho Compasion, an animal rescue in Marin County.

"The Oakland community was doing everything that they could to take care of the ducks. We just stepped in because we happen to have the resources and the connections to give them a better home," Despain said.

For months, the ducks were the most talked about and most photographed couple in the area.

"People said they were famous, but I didn’t realize just how popular they were," Camellia Schinner from Rancho Compasion said.

Fans posted photos of the lovebirds to Facebook and Reddit. The two even inspired artwork.

But fans eventually noticed the female duck had a large cut on her beak.

"They were somebody’s Easter present, I think, and they had been dumped after Easter," Rogers said. "People need to realize these are not wild animals."

Dumping domestic animals in parks happens more often than people might think. Volunteers and staff at Rancho Compasion said it has happened more often during the pandemic. That’s because more people wanted backyard chickens for their eggs and ended up dumping unwanted roosters.

"People don’t realize the commitment that it takes to have animals that aren’t necessarily dogs and cats," Schinner said.

In the meantime, the ducks will be getting medical treatment. After that, they will head to their forever home in Vacaville.

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