University gives go-ahead to feeding ducks
Memorial University says signs asking people not to feed the ducks at Burton's Pond have been removed, and people are now free to feed the fowls.
Memorial biology professor Ian Jones raised concerns about the policy last week after several dead ducks had been found at the pond. Jones suspected the ducks had died of starvation.
A spokesperson for the university said the signs requesting people not to feed the ducks had been put up to deal with a serious rodent issue around the pond.
Bill Montevecchi, another biology professor at Memorial, said removing the signs was a good short-term solution, however, he could not say for sure whether the dead ducks found had starved to death.
"Dead ducks were probably the tipping point here," said Montevecchi. "But there is a lot more to it than a couple of dead ducks."
Domestic ducks are bigger issue
Montevecchi said the broader issue is domestic ducks living in ponds across the city.
"People release ducks here," said Montevecchi. "I'm sure some of these big fat ducks, they're short winged, they probably can't even fly out of here."
"And it's the same thing at Bowring Park, at Quidi Vidi," continued Montevecchi. "There's a lot of barnyard ducks and they are interbreeding with wild black ducks, and it's a real, real problem."
Dead ducks sent to university department
The ducks also became a problem for Memorial University's communication department. A spokesperson for the school tells CBC that after the dead ducks were found, two of them were sent in a package to the department.
The Muse, Memorial's student newspaper, reported that Jones, the biology professor, had sent the package of dead ducks to the communications department.
Jones said he sent the ducks to David Sorensen, manager of communications at MUN, so they could determine what the best course of action would be.
"Facilities management and David Sorenson are doing the very best that they can to sort out a complicated wildlife problem on campus," Jones said.
The professor was originally approached by the communications department in November to consult on the policy.
Memorial officials said the signs will stay down for the remainder of winter, or until the university can come up with a long term solution.