The Malta Independent 3 August 2020, Monday

BirdLife asks authorities to take action over dying ducks

Thursday, 2 July 2020, 17:43 Last update: about 2 months ago

BirdLife Malta has said that it has notified the authorities about a number of ducks found dead near the Salina Nature Reserve.

In a statement, the NGO said that following various comments on social media platforms in relation to a number of dead farmed ducks close to Salina Nature Reserve, "BirdLife Malta wants to clarify that is has notified the competent authorities about the situation but so far no action has been taken. BirdLife Malta staff at the reserve have noticed and witnessed several farmed Muscovy Ducks dying, with the numbers increasing daily."

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"These domestic ducks are found on land which is not managed by BirdLife Malta, adjacent to the canal under the main road close to the entrance to Salina Nature Reserve. BirdLife Malta has communicated about the situation to all governmental authorities including the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), the Government Veterinary Services, the Health Environment Directorate and the Animal Welfare Department. It is very evident that these ducks are very sick."

BirdLife Malta is requesting the authorities to take action to safeguard the well-being of the farmed ducks along with the natural habitat of the area which is also a Natura 2000 site and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana stated: "The situation is serious and we are hoping to see the authorities step in to solve it at the earliest. We have been informing the authorities that these farmed ducks are alien to this site of high ecological importance and that being farmed without any control was detrimental to the biodiversity of the area but also for the same ducks. In fact, now the ducks have clearly contracted a disease and are dying rapidly. We have now also communicated with the top Public Health officials as the situation could get out of hand if no action is taken as soon as possible. The sick ducks need to be isolated in order to safeguard all."

This species of domestic duck hails from Central and South America and has become a farm animal in various countries. The biggest problem they face is that they need a constant supply of fresh water which in Malta is not found easily as a natural resource, the NGO said. "This is one of the reasons why such ducks should not be placed in the wild anywhere in Malta, not even in coastal areas next to the sea. No one should keep them unless they are sure that they can provide them with the adequate conditions."


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