16th Oct, 2019

Malvern woman wants help to solve 'the mystery of the missing ducks' in town's Priory Park

Malvern Editorial 22nd Feb, 2019 Updated: 25th Feb, 2019

TWO people from Malvern have contacted the Observer expressing their fears about ducks going missing from the town’s Priory Park, writes Sophie Wheeler.

Diane Pugh said she and others who fed the birds had noticed numbers dropping since mid-November and had found water muddied by the silt being disturbed surrounded by feathers suggesting something more sinister had taken place.

Ms Pugh said: “People have been very fond of them for years.

“But in November I was walking through the park and one of the large ducks was missing and another was floating missing a foot.

“On occasions the water has been churned up and you can see there’s feathers as if it’s been in a fight.

“We think around ten have gone missing but there’s definitely less now.

“It’s worrying that nobody cares, as it’s a big part of Malvern life to go and feed the ducks.”

We were also contacted by another resident – Janet Horner – who said she had been feeding the ducks for the past five years and had also noticed a drastic decrease in numbers since November.

“I would estimate that around 50 per cent have now disappeared.

“Of course there could be a few missing to natural predators, for example foxes, but this cannot be the reason for the large numbers lost.

“Many of the ducks are more than two seasons (two years) at the park and are aware of natural predators.”

She added most of the ducks were born and raised there and the same ones had stayed there all-year-round.

She had also noticed a female duck which had been found dead and another ‘vocal one’ which was white and brown had gone missing after been in the park for at least five years. At one time, Priory Park had seven white ducks bit now there was only one.

Mrs Horner, who has looked after animals for years and worked at rescue sanctuaries in the past, said because of the amount of people who fed them, many of the ducks were trusting of humans and she feared they could have fallen victim to acts cruelty.

“The ducks bring so much pleasure to the visitors of the park of all ages and it would be a completely different experience if they weren’t there.

“We all know the term ‘sitting ducks’ – something has to be done.”

A spokesperson from Malvern Hills District Council, said: “We are not aware of any ducks going missing or being injured in Priory Park.

“The wildlife in the park is free to roam without interruption from the council but unfortunately it is natural for predators to sometimes be present.”

  • What do you think? Do you think there are less ducks now in Priory Park than there were in November? Maybe you have an idea as to what has been happening. Email your views to editor@malvernobserver.co.uk

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