Animal welfare: Düsseldorf’s “swan mother” retires

On Friday there was a handover appointment with Margarete Bonmariage and garden office representatives in the courtyard garden. It’s about caring for the waterfowl.

Actually, Margarethe Bonmariage wanted to throw the chunks down at the end of last year. She also had this announced publicly through the Animal Welfare/Free Voters council group and via Facebook. But it has long been clear to insiders that the 85-year-old Bonmariage – better known as Düsseldorf’s swan mother – will not completely tear down her tents in the Hofgarten. The old lady, who has been taking care of geese and swans in the park strip on Heine-Allee in the shadow of the opera house and the Dreischeibenhaus for decades, is too attached to her animals. “Of course I will keep coming to the swan house to check on my geese,” she said. “Your” geese are Max, Pauline, Moritz as well as Tünnes and Schäl. She raised it herself.

“Summit meeting” at the Schwanenhaus with the city

Nevertheless, Bonmariage, who was honored in Berlin in 2017 by the German Animal Welfare Association for her life’s work as a “swan mother”, should now get help. On Friday afternoon, a “summit meeting” took place at the swan house with the senior citizen and representatives of the garden department. It was a kind of handover appointment for the care of the waterfowl.

It is planned that city employees of the garden department will take over the care of the city’s waterfowl themselves in the future if Bonmariage no longer continues their voluntary work. According to the city, this is feasible, a permanent position – as desired by Bonmariage – not necessary: ​​The number of municipal waterfowl in the courtyard garden, which are dependent on people and some are unable to fly, is currently four swans and 19 geese. All other birds living in the Hofgarten are wild. According to the city, the employees responsible for care will be in close contact with the swan mother in the future.

Bonmariage: A shelter for injured animals should remain

For Margarete Bonmariage it is particularly important that the swan house remains “as a shelter for injured animals”. People who have observed an injured bird often come by here,” says the Düsseldorf native. “You can’t call the fire brigade or animal rescue every time.”

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