Ducks face farm transfer

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 20 April 2013 | 19.55

Ducks at the Kingston Beach duck park face relocation to farms due to complaints and health concerns. Pictures: RICHARD JUPE

DUCK for cover -- an influx of feathered friends in the Kingborough area has caused the council to step in and begin a duck control program.

Kingborough Council will start a program to reduce the number of ducks in public places at Margate and Kingston Beach.

The program follows complaints from residents on the impacts of the increasing number of feral and domestic ducks in these areas.

Kingborough Mayor Graham Bury said the main complaints from residents included the duck droppings on lawns, footpaths and nature strips.

Cr Bury said the council's medical health officer had advised council that there were health risks to humans through being exposed directly to the ducks and duck faeces.

"Exposure to duck faeces can occur if children play on ground contaminated with faeces, pick up contaminated objects or transfer faecal material from their shoes to other objects in the home environment," Cr Bury said.

"This risk is particularly high at Balmoral Reserve (at Kingston Beach)."

Marina Wise lives in the same street as Balmoral Reserve, which is known by locals as the "duck park", and says children love feeding the ducks.

"My five-year-old son Jamie loves the ducks ... every day you see someone feeding the ducks, usually it's kids," she said.

"The park is very much a family place."

Cr Bury said the ducks could be infected with salmonella and campylobacter.

Either of these, if ingested by humans, causes a gastroenteritis illness that can last up to two weeks.

Direct contact with ducks can also expose people to other illnesses, including psittacosis (pneumonia), avian influenza (bird flu) as well as skin infections, skin mites and fungal infections.

"Council has engaged a contractor to humanely catch the ducks and relocate them to local farms. Any native ducks caught will be immediately released," Cr Bury said.

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