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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March, 2003, 11:33 GMT
R.I.P. Ruddy duck
RUDDY DUCK, a pushy American settler which has been blasted for being "over-sexed and over here", is passing on to the great duck pond in the sky.

Like many of its countrymen, Ruddy Duck first came to Europe in the 1940s. But whereas GIs were frowned upon for whisking brides off back across the Atlantic, Ruddy Duck's approach was slightly different - it stayed in Europe to mate. It now has homes in 20 European countries.

Bristling with self confidence, perhaps because of its superior diving abilities, it had no trouble jaunting across to Spain where it would romance the elegant white-headed señorita ducks. The señors stood little chance, and the population collapsed so much that they became as strictly protected as the hump-backed whale.

Happier times
Nothing would stop Ruddy and White Headed duck from mating, however. A particularly delicate racial problem came with their offspring - described as "genetically impure".

And thus Ruddy Duck meets its end, thanks to a band of modern day Elmer Fudds - practically all Ruddy Ducks in the UK are to be culled, the government is announcing.

While their passing may cause relief in Spanish ponds, others feel a sense of injustice.

Some say the £915 cost of killing each bird - their diving abilities make life difficult for marksmen - could be spent less cruelly in repatriating each bird back to the US in business class.

Others say that, unlike the notorious thug-like behaviour of the grey squirrel, the mostly vegetarian Ruddy Duck never did any harm (except to the odd insect). "They have made love, not war," opined the Sunday Telegraph.

Even the RSPB, which supports the cull, says wistfully: "The tragedy of this situation is that the ducks themselves are not to blame. They are doing what comes naturally to them."

No flowers.

Your tributes so far:

And all without a second resolution.....
Steve O, UK

Farewell Ruddy Duck. £915 for each bird. Who will get the bill?
Paul Rogers, UK

Ooooh, thath dethhhhpicable!
Kieron, UK

Send us the ducks. We'll take 'em back.
Charlie E, US

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The BBC's Robert Hall
"The cull will take up to six years and cost up to £5 million"

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