Use Humane Alternative to Euthanizing 350 Wild Ducks in Ocracoke, NC (Outer Banks)
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Bill Rich, Hyde County Manager
Will Doerfer, Special Assistant Hyde County Manager,
Ocracoke Civic and Business Association,
David Hallac, Superintendent Cape Hatteras National Seashore,
Currituck County Department of Travel and Tourism
Hyde County Board of Commissioners:
Earl Pugh, Jr,. Chairman,
John Fletcher, Ocracoke Township,
Dick Tunnell, Swan Quarter Township
Dear Ocracoke & Hyde County Government Officials, Civic and Business Associates,
We are petitioning you to choose a humane alternative over “trapping and euthanizing up to 350 mallard ducks” as noted in the Sunday, April 10th, 2016 Ocracoke Observer article written by Connie Leinbach entitled “Hyde County Seeks Consensus About Island Ducks.” The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) Duck is a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
We are not taking lightly the concern of potential disease. We agree that the island of Ocracoke should not be overrun by waterfowl and that the flock should be thinned out. However, it is crucial that the risks and alternatives are properly understood.
First, the duck feces in the water is unlikely to affect the water supply as the local water plant purifies salt water with reverse osmosis. Second, we encourage education via marketing and signage that visitors should not touch the ducks or the droppings, especially those under the age of five. Next, we encourage education via marketing and signage that visitors should not feed the ducks, (or any wildlife), with accompanying information on possible spread of disease. Finally, we encourage more hand sanitizing stations around the island.
In light of this, there are no scenarios which demand such extreme measures as euthanizing. Instead, we encourage you to consider alternate methods to thin the flock that have been proven to work in other areas of the country. Electronic Bird Repellers can be purchased online and cover many acres. Visual Scare Decoys such as owls, alligators, and dogs are also available. There are other options available such as non-toxic sprays and netting as well. Live herding dogs have also been shown to have success with scaring away waterfowl.
While we agree that the herd should be humanely thinned out, it's important to note that ducks are also a known predator for mosquitos, which is one of the very few negatives that Ocracoke visitors experience. With the diseases that can be spread by mosquitos in NC, their assistance can be helpful. They are also "tireless consumers" of grubs, beetles, ticks, fleas, and other insects.
The signatures on this petition represent Hyde County residents and business owners, Dare & Currituck County residents, business owners, and (current and potential) tourists to Ocracoke, as well as current and potential tourists to Ocracoke from the state of NC and the rest of the United States.
Ocracoke Tourism Marketing Research published February 2, 2015 states:
“The economic impact of tourism in Hyde County is $32.36 million in revenue, $6.06 million in payroll tax and $1.71 million in local tax receipts. (Page 3)
“One of the strengths of Hyde County tourism is a dedicated, repeat customer base.” (Page 15)
We encourage you to preserve your exceptional impact of tourism with your seasoned tourists and those who plan to enjoy the island and all it has to offer.
Needlessly euthanizing 350 water fowl that are important to the ecosystem as “seed dispensers” and food resources for other predators would become a strong factor in the decision making process for vacationers who respect wildlife.
Nest Management by addling/oiling, while not ideal, is reasonable and acceptable to prevent the problem from growing. Our immediate concern is with the current flock.
While every signer may not be able to attend your April 13th Ocracoke Civic and Business Association meeting, we each hope that our signatures act as a strong voice and opinion against the euthanizing of the ducks. It is our hope to continue spending our tourism dollars in Ocracoke and to continue adding to the revenue. For our surrounding counties, we fear this may also affect tourism dollars in Dare and Currituck as the majority of Hyde County visitors must travel through.
Please keep Ocracoke beautiful.
Euthanizing is not a viable option.
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