GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – After outraged citizens started noticing injured ducks and geese, Clay County sheriff's deputies are searching for the person who is using blow darts to injure the wildlife.
There have been three incidents in recent months, and a local wildlife rescue group is trying to get the word out so the person doing this is caught.
The rescue group said multiple birds that live in ponds have been hit with the darts. The darts get stuck in their heads and other parts of their bodies, and the group's members want it stopped.
The images of the birds with darts in them can be disturbing but the rescue group believes seeing the injured animals may help someone come forward and stop it from happening again.
The neighborhoods where these attacks are happening are between Green Cove Springs and Lake Asbury. The neighborhoods appear tranquil, with wildlife like geese and ducks swimming in the neighborhood ponds; however, that's not always the case, as images of the injured waterfowl show.
Dave Kelly lives in the area and thinks the problem may just be some bored kids with too much time on their hands.
"It's not a good thing. Lots of kids on bicycles going around here and often times kids can be careless, and that's not a real good thing to do," Kelly said.
While people in the area were surprised and concerned that this is happening, a wildlife rescue group called the Wildlife Rescue Coalition of Northeast Florida is getting organized and trying to work with law enforcement agencies to get the word out that someone, or perhaps multiple people, are doing this.
"It's a shame that we have community members that think that living creatures are objects for target practice," Valerie Hale, with the Wildlife Rescue Coalition of Northeast Florida, said.
The group said the Clay County Sheriff's Office is actively on the hunt for any suspects in this case and they want the community to keep an eye out as well.
"I can't say for sure if it is youth or adults, but it's being done for entertainment, clearly," Hale said.
Anyone with information about whose responsible can call the Clay County Sheriff's Office at 904-264-6512.