Cupid’s arrow recovery hits hearts in Exeter

Neighbors Donny Block and Dennis Morris pictured with Cupid the peacock.(Kenny Goodman)

Exeter community celebrates local peacock’s recovery as he is released back into his natural habitat

EXETER – Local residents were shot through the heart this week after local peacock Cupid was released back to his home after weeks of recovering from being shot with an arrow.

Love was in the air on Thursday, March 28 as volunteers and community members gathered just off of Visalia Road to release the peacock, who was fondly named “Cupid” after his recent injury, to rejoin his family of peacocks. The bird just finished rehabilitation after being shot by a hunting arrow by an unknown source.

The community members of Exeter who came to celebrate Cupid’s release on Thursday all took a moment to share their final words “We love you Cupid,” before he was released back to his family.

“It’s a really great story. After, what, three weeks, he’s finally to the point where we can release him,” Dr. Maureen, a veterinarian who works with Critter Creek Wildlife Station, said.

At the release, “Great Neighbor Award” certificates were given out to those who helped catch and care for Cupid including Don Block, Dennis Morris and Dayna Schrader.

“The arrow that they used was just so gruesome,” community member Don Block said.

Block described the arrow that hit Cupid as having barbs that spread out after making impact with their target, “specifically meaning to kill them.”

The family of peacocks are watched over by the neighborhood in the area, which is near Visalia Road. After Cupid was shot, Block spent days trying to catch him for medical attention. He didn’t notice the bird was injured at first until one of his neighbors, Dennis, called and pointed out that one of the peacocks by his house was injured.

“Everyone attributes the birds to me and Dennis because they kind of roost between our two houses,” Block said.

Block spent hours every day waiting by a cage with a string attached to it in hopes that he could trap him. Block’s efforts finally paid off when Cupid willingly walked into the cage 10 days after he had been shot.

Once Cupid was caught, Block and his neighbor Dennis called Critter Creek Wildlife Station, which is a wildlife rescue that helps wild animals that are harmed by human interference. The rescue, which is stationed in Yokuts Valley, sent their Volunteer in the Visalia area, Andy Jewett to help.

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Joan, a volunteer with Critter Creek, and Donny Block prepare Cupid, the peacock, for his release. (Kenny Goodman)

“Andy and Joan immediately got him to a vet and they had to do full surgery because the arrow was sticking through the backside out of his chest,” Block said.

Cupid was sent to surgery at San Joaquin Veterinary Clinic in Fresno, the same day he was caught. Once the vet removed Cupid’s arrow he had to be isolated and put into the care of Critter Creek volunteer Joan Cuadra for about three weeks for treatment and rehabilitation before he was ready to be released.

Jewett explained that this isn’t the first time that something like this has happened. According to Jewett, he picks up injured animals all of the time. They include everything from hawks to songbirds, owls, peacocks, geese, turtles, coyotes and foxes.

Jewett even recalled a time when he had to house a skunk in his guest room for a few days until he was ready to be transported for treatment.

Critter Creek’s whole mission is to help animals such as Cupid recover and be reintroduced into their natural habitat. However, Jewett said it has become increasingly difficult given that Critter Creek is composed of volunteers and only two staff members.

“This is just one of many, many cases that occurred during the year,” Dr. Maureen said. “We transport injured wildlife up to Critter Creek and it’s a bit of a drive. All of this burden is on a very small group of volunteers.”

Those who would like to support causes like rescuing Cupid can do so by volunteering or donating to Critter Creek. Jewett explained that one way community members can help is to call Critter Creek and ask to be on a list to transport animals.

“The caging, the bedding, the food, transport, it all adds up,” Jewett said.

Those who would like more information can visit Critter Creek’s social media or their website at www.crittercreek.org.

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