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Whose ducks are they anyway? Environment watchdog cries ‘fowl’

Carer insists they are wild and that he cannot 'relocate' them

Joe Schembri says he has been voluntarily taking care of the ducks for the past seven years.

Joe Schembri says he has been voluntarily taking care of the ducks for the past seven years.

Some 300 ducks that have taken up residence near the Salini nature reserve face an uncertain future after the Environment and Resources Authority ordered their relocation.

Joe Schembri, an elderly man who has taken care of the ducks for the past seven years, faces fines if they are not relocated.

Mr Schembri, who said he spent about €100 a week on feed for the ducks, maintained they had been flocking to Salini since long before he started feeding them.

According to an enforcement notice issued by the environment watchdog, the ducks are being kept in a special conservation area without any consent from the authority.

A faded sign in the area marks it as a protected space for ducks and other bird species.

Mr Schembri said he that had already abided by ERA’s order to remove chicken wire he set up to separate the drakes from the females. He noted he did that to try control the overall population.

“These are all wild ducks. How can ERA expect me to relocate them? They are not mine. I was just looking after them.”

Mr Schembri has sent a legal letter to ERA, arguing he cannot comply with its request to relocate the ducks.

 

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