Nakari - from lost duckling to family leader
18 September 2019
On a bitterly cold, gusty and stormy day in Meningie in November 2018, a mother Pacific Black Duck was leading her ducklings to the water. Coorong National Park Former Team Leader Tim Hartman Snr was contacted for advice. When the mother duck and her ducklings became separated, Cultural Ranger, Matthew Hartman arrived to assist.
Tim Hartman Snr, Matthew Hartman and Ngarrindjeri community members Rita Lindsay Snr, Audrey Lindsay, Rita Lindsay Jnr, Michael Lindsay and Selena Hartman assisted in reuniting the group of ducklings with the mother duck. However, an hour or so later, my grandmother Rita Lindsay Snr, found the last little duckling in her driveway. The search for the duckling’s family was unsuccessful.
For over eight weeks, the duckling was cared for by a local Ngarrindjeri family, Rita Snr, Audrey, Rita Jnr and Michael. The little duckling was named Nakari, which means Pacific Black Duck in the Ngarrindjeri language.
In January 2019, Rita Snr, Audrey and Rita Jnr transported Nakari to Adelaide. Nakari was placed in the care of Leonie Weaver, Duckling Coordinator Fauna Rescue of SA Inc. Leonie is a volunteer and works tirelessly to care for rescued, injured and orphaned native ducks.
During this time, Nakari was able to learn how to be a duck and to bond with a group of rescued Pacific Black Ducks. Nakari became the leader of the group. A single duck cannot be released into the wild as it would not survive. However, rescued and orphaned ducks from different regions and ages in this situation are able to form a close bond and create a family of their own.
In July 2019, Working on Country, Program Manager Cyril Karpany (Uncle Buddy) assisted in organising the Coorong National Park Cultural Rangers, Mathew Hartman and Candice Love along with Rita Lindsay Jnr, to travel to Adelaide to meet with Leonie Weaver, Fauna Rescue of SA Inc. A total of seven Pacific Black Ducks, including Nakari, were collected and transported from Adelaide to Meningie.
On a perfect sunny day, a group of Ngarrindjeri community members and Cultural Rangers from the Coorong National Park gathered together to welcome the ducks back to Ngarrindjeri country and to release the ducks in Lake Albert, Meningie. A suitable location for release was selected by Cultural Ranger, Matthew Hartman.
The ducks were very calm as they left the boxes. They waited patiently for one another and they entered the water as a united group. The ducks had a joyous time in the water and were fast becoming familiar with their new surroundings.
As Ngarrindjeri, we have a cultural responsibility to care for country and all living things. We have a responsibility to care for our Nga:tji (Totem), which can be an animal, bird, fish, insect or plant. It was a really good feeling to have our Pacific Black Ducks returned and released on Ngarrindjeri country.
- Rita Lindsay Jnr
Thankyou to the following who assisted in the rescue, care and return of the Pacific Black Ducks:
- Ngarrindjeri community members Rita Lindsay Snr, Audrey Lindsay, Rita Lindsay Jnr, Michael Lindsay and Selena Hartman
- Department for Environment and Water
- National Parks and Wildlife Service SA
- Ngarrindjeri Lands and Progress Association Working on Country
- Working on Country, Program Manager Cyril Karpany (Uncle Buddy)
- Tim Hartman Snr, Former Team Leader, Coorong National Park
- Cultural Rangers, Coorong National Park Mathew Hartman, Candice Love, Tim Hartman Jnr and Georgina Trevorrow
- Fauna Rescue SA Inc and Leonie Weaver, Duckling Coordinator Fauna Rescue of SA Inc
- Platinum AG Services Meningie and Renee Davy