24 June 2020

Gerald the Turkey: Update & Call to Action

Gerald the turkey in the Rose Garden

Molly Flanagan
Oakland, CA, United States
JUN 24, 2020

Thanks to your tremendous support, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife agreed to relocate Gerald. This means he will not be killed—a great relief!

We have one more ask: help us get Gerald to sanctuary. Animal Place is ready and eager to receive him.

This is not a new petition. If you have not already, please send an email to CDFW asking that Gerald go to the most suitable new home. Public pressure seems to be working!

Simply copy and paste the email below or write a message of your own. (Diplomacy may be the most persuasive approach.) Optional points to include in a personalized email:

  • Gerald has been semi-domesticated and would fare better in a sanctuary than in the wild.
  • The risk of starvation and predation would likely be lower at the sanctuary.
  • Quarantine would be provided in sanctuary to rule out the threat of disease.
  • Sanctioned/licensed transport could be arranged to Animal Place if needed.

We're almost there!

Molly Flanagan & Gerald’s beloved community


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Subject: Sanctuary for Gerald
To: director@wildlife.ca.gov,

Thank you so much for hearing our requests and agreeing to relocation for Gerald, the Morcom Rose Garden turkey. I am grateful to know that you are listening to the concerns of the public and I am very relieved that he will not be killed.

I understand that the plan is to relocate Gerald to the Oakland hills. However, I am concerned that this could prove an extremely challenging environment for him. Wildlife experts often cite the risk of starvation and exposure to predators as reasons for prohibiting relocation. These are obviously vital concerns. Gerald is used to the relative safety of the rose garden, so a sudden move to the Oakland hills—where he does not know how to find food and shelter or navigate large predators such as mountain lions—poses many dangers. Since Gerald has had so many conflicts with local residents, I’m also concerned that an urban public park with many trails, local neighborhoods, and cars, may only lead to more of the same—stress and conflict.

As you may know, Animal Place, a well-established and respected sanctuary, has space for Gerald and is eager to receive him. With 600 acres in a rural area, they have many wild turkey flocks and would be able to provide a protected—or semi protected—area where he can slowly acclimate to living in more wild land. They could also offer transitional care—crucial since Gerald is so accustomed to being fed.

I know that you take decisions about wildlife relocation very seriously. I appreciate your consideration of Gerald’s unique situation, and what would be most optimal for his long-term safety. A “soft release” at Animal Place would provide this and give him the best possible chance at life as he transitions into a more wild setting. I respectfully urge you to grant Gerald sanctuary.