Feral Mallards - radio announcer confesses on air!

To: "'Ozbird Mail'" <>
Subject: Feral Mallards - radio announcer confesses on air!
From: "Conole, Lawrie" <>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 10:23:59 +1000
I was listening to a Melbourne community radio station, 3RRR, this morning
when one of the announcers, Kate Langbroek (also a sometime member of the TV
show on 10 - The Panel) confessed to dumping her pet duck over the fence at
the Botanic Gardens.  From the steady supply of barnyard ducks and geese at
these kind of places it's clearly a common practice, but as Kate was silly
enough to confess on air, I thought I'd let her know why it was a stupid
thing to do.  See attached letter.

Lawrie Conole
Fitzroy North, Victoria, Australia
37°46'57"S  144°58'45"E


58 Holden Street
Fitzroy North 3068
26 August 1998

Kate Langbroek
RRR Breakfasters
25 Victoria Street
Fitzroy 3065

Hi Kate

I've been waking up to the Breakfasters for about 15 years now, so I'm used
to hearing all kinds of stuff discussed on air.  Your remarks about your
ex-pet duck being hoisted over the fence at the Botanic Gardens woke me up a
bit faster this morning than usual.

Before you dismiss me as an animal liberationist, let's get that one out of
the way early.  I'm not overly concerned about the welfare of your duck,
because it probably had a very pleasant existence in the gardens (at least
for a while).  My concern is about your thoughtless solution to a problem
that you created in the first place.

>From your previous descriptions, the duck you released was probably a
domestic breed of a species called the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchus).
Mallards are native to various parts of Asia, Europe and North America.
Here in Australia and elsewhere in the western Pacific, we have a closely
related species called the Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosus).  When
Mallards get loose in this area, they shag every Pacific Black Duck in
sight.  The result is in New Zealand that the Pacific Black Duck as a
species in its own right is being obliterated by a flood of MallardXPacific
Black Duck hybrids.  In many metropolitan and provincial areas of Australia,
the same thing is happening.  The source of most of these feral Mallards is
the same - people like you decide they've had enough of their demanding pets
(not so 'cute' after they mature), and dump them at the local lake/bird
sanctuary/etc.  This is on a par with dumping cats and kittens in the bush -
some survive to become feral and eat their way through the local fauna.
Mallards are shagging their way through the local Pacific Black Duck
population.  Different method - similar result - local extinction of a
native species.

The kindest thing you could have done with your pet duck once you were
through with it would have been to turn it into Peking Duck - the local
population of Pacific Black Ducks might have fared better if you and others
had.  Ironically, it might have ended up on someone's plate anyhow, as
Mallards and Mallard-hybrids are usually rounded up and removed from the
various places where people tend to abandon them, thereby shifting the cost
and responsibility to the community - well done.


Lawrie Conole
Ex RRR subscriber 28071

Cc:     Department of Natural Resources & Environment
        Birding-Aus Internet discussion list on Australian birds

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Feral Mallards - radio announcer confesses on air!, Conole, Lawrie <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU