When Vikram Rao and his mother, Sunila, were told by a family member that a Carmel ordinance prohibited them from feeding ducks at city parks, the Towne Meadow Elementary second-grader decided he wanted to help other visitors understand why.
Feeding ducks can make sick or become aggressive, according to Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation Park Maintenance Director Michael Allen.
“It’s definitely an issue in our parks,” Allen said. “It can turn into somewhat of a nuisance to other people at the park. The animals then come up to people expecting food, and that can create an undesired experience.”
Vikram, 8, said he stopped feeding the ducks but noticed that other families did not. He asked his mother if he could make his own sign alerting others not to feed the ducks. Sunila told him he wouldn’t be able to do that but suggested they contact CCPR.
“We received a handwritten letter in the mail from Vikram. He was requesting that signs be posted to alert park goers to not feed the ducks,” Allen said.
It only took about a month from the time CCPR received the letter to the installation of the signs in West Park. Allen was surprised at the level of concern Vikram had for the animals.
“It had quite an impression on me from the beginning,” Allen said. “I looked at this as an opportunity to engage a young park visitor that potentially could help us support the parks and the message we’re trying to send on the conservation side for years to come. We wanted to make sure he knows he can make a difference by submitting something to his local officials.”
Vikram was excited to know his letter made a difference.
“I felt great,” Vikram said.