No sign of duck signs

Central Leader - - News - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

Putting up signs at West­ern Springs to de­ter peo­ple from feed­ing swim­ming ducks has been no walk in the park.

The Auck­land City Coun­cil signs were meant to go up sev­eral weeks ago to stop the pub­lic throw­ing bread into the lake, be­cause it can lead to ducks be­com­ing sick.

“They need to make it of­fi­cial,” says one West­ern Springs park of­fi­cer.

“I tell peo­ple not to feed the ducks and they tell me to bug­ger off.”

He says peo­ple think the rule is silly be­cause it is com­mon­place to feed the ducks but they do not un­der­stand the rea­son­ing be­hind it.

Coun­cil parks ad­viser David Barker says in early Fe­bru­ary there was an out­break of bot­u­lism and so it was con­sid­er­ing putting up tem­po­rary signs.

“This was to ad­dress claims that the pres­ence of bread in the lake was ex­ac­er­bat­ing a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring out­break of bot­u­lism,” he says.

Food-borne bot­u­lism is an ill­ness caused by eat­ing foods that con­tain bo­tulin tox­ins.

The park of­fi­cer says dur­ing the height of the prob­lem he was spending two to three hours a day deal­ing with dead ducks.

But now the signs may not even be put up and park staff say they are un­clear on the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion .

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Barker, the high rain­fall lev­els in the sec­ond half of Fe­bru­ary and a gen­eral drop in tem­per­a­tures since that pe­riod has led to a large re­duc­tion in the num­ber of birds be­com­ing in­fected. He says signs were not put up for that rea­son.

The coun­cil says it will re-eval­u­ate the sit­u­a­tion next sum­mer.

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