Community rallies to save Oakland turkey with bad habit of attacking people

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The Oakland community has rallied around an unlikely anti-hero: Gerald the turkey.

We wrote about Gerald last week, an aggressive turkey with a penchant for attacking people. His antics had gotten so out of hand, the city was forced to close the Morcom Rose Garden in the Grand Lake neighborhood.

"His favorite target seems to be older women, although young children are also at great risk," reads one resident complaint sent to Oakland Animal Services.

"I swear I was getting flashbacks to the velociraptor scenes in 'Jurassic Park' as he was 'cooing' at me sizing me up," reads another. "And before you laugh at all this, I'm telling you he was relentless!"

READ MORE: Oakland forced to close rose garden over angry turkey that won't stop attacking people

In an effort to end his quasi-prehistoric assaults, the city asked people to stop feeding the turkey, closed the park and sent in specialists to try and retrain Gerald against being aggressive. When that didn't work, the city of Oakland secured a depredation permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to trap and euthanize the bird.

But Gerald is apparently too beloved of a creature to face such a fate. Grand Lake residents secured more than 6,000 signatures on a petition asking Fish and Wildlife to relocate the turkey instead.

It appears their efforts have been successful.

"We're working with the city of Oakland to coordinate the turkey's capture and relocation," Ken Paglia, a spokesperson for DFW told ABC7 News. "The goal is to relocate it to suitable habitat nearby."

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Relocating Gerald may take some time, as the department is coordinating with multiple city agencies to make it happen. They also want to make sure they choose an appropriate habitat for the turkey, so that he doesn't end up terrorizing residents in another Oakland neighborhood.

"We did modify the permit in response to the totality of the circumstances, including the community's concern and everyone's thoughts who were involved," added Paglia. "We do want our actions to reflect the concerns and values of the community, and our mission is to care for wildlife but also to facilitate public enjoyment of the state's resources."
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