Urgent: Protect Gerald the Rose Garden Turkey

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A “depredation permit” has been secured to “lethally remove”—shoot and kill—Gerald the turkey, next Monday (6/22).

The debates over his fate reveal bigger questions about how we support the needs of human and non-human beings. We believe that killing someone is not a valid way to solve human-wildlife conflicts. Unfortunately, many have run out of patience with the temporary closure of the park, and a viable way to create safe co-existence for everyone has not yet been found. As a result, relocation seems the only option at this point. The CA Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) has refused requests for relocation. We are hoping that—with your help—they will reverse their decision and give Gerald a chance at life in a new environment, where we hope he can thrive.

Please sign and share this petition widely. Time is of the essence.

Letter to CDFW follows

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Relocation Request: Protect Morcom Rose Garden Turkey  

We, the residents of the Morcom Rose Garden neighborhood in Oakland CA, and beyond, call on the CDFW to consider relocation as a means for allowing Gerald, the resident male turkey, to keep his life.

As you may have heard, Gerald began attacking visitors over recent months, and the situation has become untenable. The attacks coincided with mating season, the presence of new chicks, and drastically increased human (and dog) activity in the park due to shelter-in-place. These are all factors which may have led him to feel protective and under threat.

Oakland Animal Services has worked hard, under CDFW’s guidance, to de-escalate the situation, using hazing, calling for an end to all feeding, and temporarily closing the park to ensure public safety and support retraining. Nevertheless, many have disregarded the closure and incidents have continued, including people taunting Gerald and attempting to stave him off with counter-attacks. This is not an environment for reducing stress. Yet, barring substantial change in how Gerald interacts with humans, the plan is for him to be killed June 22. This grim prospect has caused much sadness and distress to members of the community.

We understand that requests for relocation have been made in attempts to prevent Gerald’s “lethal removal”, and that CDFW has denied these requests. We recognize that there are risks with relocation and we appreciate the gravity of this.

We also understand that a number of wildlife experts say it is possible for wild turkeys to relocate successfully, and that several suitable areas are available, ranging from wild public lands to sanctuary. We urge that one of these options be permitted to give Gerald a chance at life in a less-populated area where he can learn to forage. Thank you for considering our request and doing your best to honor his life.