10th March 2013
Look Who Swam Into Town – Meet the Lone Ranger
It is defined as cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act if a person ‘abandons an animal of a species usually kept in a state of confinement or for a domestic purpose’. Yet visit any large public wetland, or many a smaller lake or pond, and chances are you will find domestic ducks or even geese living in the wild. Sadly, many people treat these intelligent and affectionate creatures with little regard and recklessly dump them when the novelty of a little fluffy duckling wears off or when personal circumstances change. Working under the false belief that the ducks will happily survive, the perpetrators of the thoughtless abandonment and even those who go on to feed the domestic ducks are ignorant to the fact these domestic species are bred to be flightless or are only capable of minimal flight. Not only are they unable to take to the sky at will in order to flee predators or to seek greener pastures (or cleaner ponds, as it were), but these animals lack the survival skills necessary to navigate safely through a wild life. Often lacking a proper diet and living as bait for foxes, cats or dogs; abandoned domestic ducks serve to encourage others that it is okay to shirk the responsibilities of caring for animals. Public outrage would rightly be forthcoming should people take their cat or dog to the park, only for the animal to remain and the human returning home alone. A change of species should never mean a change of responsibility.
Conservation issues arise with the threat of domestic ducks interbreeding with wild populations or introducing diseases to which their wild cousins have no immunity. Hence these hapless non-native waterbirds are often rounded up and systematically killed. Such could well have been the fate of the Lone Ranger, a male Pekin duck (those not too dissimilar in appearance to the famous cartoon duck, Donald) who was recently identified on a wetland not in the Wild West but indeed, none too far from Edgar’s Mission. Sadly, the companion he had been abandoned with had earlier succumbed to the perils of the wild. But thanks to the kindness of our dedicated team of volunteers who reigned (and swam) The Lone Ranger in, he will thankfully be lone (or in peril) no more.
Ducks- kindness factor
- Look- If you see a domestic duck dumped try to get a description of those involved, including vehicle and license plate and report the details to the local police, council and RSPCA. If possible, try to safely capture the duck, chances are this may not be possible and you could in fact stress or even injure the bird- you will need to make a judgement call on this one. If unable to safely capture the duck please ensure you have an accurate location to identify where the bird was last sighted. Reporting the matter is of urgency.
- Befriend – Sponsor The Lone Ranger and ensure he and his feathered friends have plenty of reasons to splash about.
- Live kind – Ducks belong in the water, not on your plate. Try some delicious duck free meals and share them with your friends. Our personal favourite is Roast Mock Duck on a bed of snow peas and bean sprouts at The White Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant, Victoria Street, North Melbourne.