Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, February 2, 1999 Published at 04:58 GMT


Ruddy ducks down and out

A sitting duck, soon to be culled

Thousands of over-sexed ruddy ducks are to be shot over the next four years in a government programme to eradicate the species from Britain.

Richard Wilson reports
The death warrant for the North American duck was signed after experts worried that the ruddy male was threatening the endangered Spanish white-headed duck with extinction by breeding with it.

A trial cull costing about 800,000 is to begin around Easter in the West Midlands, Anglesey and Fife.

Environment Minister Micheal Meacher said: "This has been a very difficult decision to take, but has been made on the basis that we have a duty to maintain, as far as we can, the current diversity of species.

"The white-headed duck is in danger of extinction. Action to remove the threat to the species from the ruddy duck is urgently required."

The campaign group, Animal Aid, remains staunchly opposed to a cull. It described earlier plans for such a measure as "immoral, pointless and unworkable".

Earlier plans by the Tory government were shot down amid protests by land-owners.

The ruddy, which was introduced to Britain after 1945, has spread to around 20 countries and has a population of about 4,000.

There are believed to be around 1,000 white-headed ducks in Spain and another 8,500-15,500 in Turkey and further east.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Internet Links

Animal Aid - ruddy ducks


DETR - Ruddy Duck

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online