Texas Tech Vet School students rescue ducklings from storm drain


LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – Two West Texas ducklings are home safe with their mom after some Texas Tech Vet students jumped into action to rescue them from a storm drain.

They gained some real-world experience through the rescue last week in Amarillo near the new Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine campus.

Fourth year PhD student Savana Everhart says she and her classmate, first year PhD student Milad Kheirvari, were driving away from class, when they saw the ducks crossing the road and pulled over to help. Second year PhD student SaraBeth Boggan saw her classmates standing on the side of the road, and decided she would stop, too.

Everhart says a momma mallard was crossing the road with her ducklings in tow, when a car drove by and scared them, causing the two to fall in.

The students knew they didn’t have the right equipment for the rescue, so they called the Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for help. Boggan is working with the organization on a research project. Founder Stephanie Diaz says the students were relentless on making sure the ducklings got out safely.

“There’s no way for them to get out. It was 101 degrees. Not so hot for the ducklings, ’cause they were down below and it was cooler, but the students refused to leave. They were like no we’ve got to get, we’ve got to get them out,” Diaz said.

The group started searching to find the ducklings’ exact location within the drain.

“We probably looked like nutcases because we were all laying on the sidewalk looking down with our phones in the storm drain, trying to figure out where the ducklings were,” Boggan said.

When they found the ducklings, it was time for someone to head in for the rescue. Everhart, the smallest of the group, threw on her coveralls and was ready to dive in.

“I have a little bit of arachnophobia, so I was a little nervous to find spiders down there. But, I mean, we kind of assessed the situation there wasn’t any like weird smells or anything. It’s actually relatively clean,” Everhart said.

“But to be honest, she didn’t hesitate. She was just thinking about ducklings,” Kheirvari said.

After pulling them out of the storm drain, the students reunited the ducklings with their mom in some nearby brush.

“They put the two ducklings down and you know they quickly disappeared into the brush. But then all of a sudden, you hear quack, quack, quack. Like the mom was like, ‘where have you been? I was so worried about you.’ So it was, it was really great to hear mom all excited when she saw her ducklings coming in through the bushes,” Diaz said.

While they have different interests in their field, all are certain in their love for animals.

“I mean, I grew up on a farm. I’ve always loved animals. I wouldn’t be in this field if I didn’t love them,” Everhart said.

“For me it’s kind of reaffirming like, I really am in the right line of work,” Boggan said.

“It gave me a really good feeling to be honest. Their lives are, it doesn’t matter if it’s hot, or I think it took like one or two hours, but I think their lives matter,” Kheirvari said.

Diaz says her center covers the entire Texas Panhandle, so this time she was honored to pass the torch.

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