Friday, 9 March 2012

Final 100 ruddy ducks in the UK facing extermination

Cull has killed 6,500, at a cost of £5m, and the government is about to spend a further £200,000 on the remaining birds
It's small, chestnut-brown and American, bobs around on lakes and ponds and has bred happily in Britain for 60 years. But bird lovers hoping to see the ruddy duck in a natural habitat should hurry because the government is about to spend a further £200,000 trying to shoot the last 100 in an attempt to finally exterminate the invasive species.
The cull, which started in 1999 after Spanish conservationists complained that birds originating in Britain threatened the survival of their own rare white-headed ducks by interbreeding with them, has so far killed around 6,500 at a cost of over £5m, making the ruddy duck, at around £900 each, some of the most expensive ducks in the world. According to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), fewer than 100 remain, after a culling of 2,689 ducks between September 2005 and January 2007.
But bird lovers have questioned the practicality and sense in continuing with the cull of the birds whose only crime, it has been said, is to be "American, over-sexed and over here".

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