Wildlife officials are warning people that Torrance's Madrona Marsh Nature Preserve is no place to abandon your unwanted pets.
Earlier this month, naturalist Tracy Drake says she knew this was an issue when earlier this month a flightless Muscovy duck was left in the marsh.
“A domesticated animal did not grow up in the wild and has no idea about predators because they’ve never been prey. It’s like putting a young child in the wilderness. Animals become dependent upon humans for food, shelter and safety.
All of that is immediately gone when they’re dropped in the wild. They don’t know they should be afraid. This duck was simply walking down the middle of a path. It was nowhere near water or shelter. There was no chance for it to survive.”
The city's community services director John Jones says people don't understand that the 45-acre preserve isn't a safe haven for domesticated animals like they think it is.
“We’re getting more and more individuals, for some reason, feeling it’s appropriate to abandon their domesticated animal into the Madrona Marsh preserve. It may seem like a great idea, but, unfortunately, these domesticated animals are often not able to survive because of other critters in the preserve who may find them to be a tasty little snack.”
This isn't a new behavior, however as most parks have been used as dumping grounds for unwanted pets for years.
The marsh experiences three bumps in the abandonings yearly; about six weeks after Easter when people can't handle the grown chickens and bunnies they received as gifts. The start of summer when people tend to leave on extended vacations and at the end of summer when kids go back to school and don't know what to do with their animals when they are in class.
Drake said that if people couldn't take care of their pets, the best course of action is to look up animal rescue groups or if that doesn't yield any results the preserve is open to giving them advice.