Domestic duck rescued at Piltdown Pond

Lindsay Redfern and Kathy Martin check over the duck
Lindsay Redfern and Kathy Martin check over the duck

A wildlife charity urges people not to dump unwanted domestic ducks and other animals into the wild, after rescuing a dumped Aylesbury duck at Piltdown Pond.

At 11am on Monday East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) was called to the duck at the pond just off Shortbridge Road. It turned out to be a domestic duck.

Rescuer Kathy Martyn managed to catch the bird quite easily. “He didn’t put up much resistance and was clearly not well,” said Kathy, who then delivered him to WRAS’s casualty care centre at Whitesmith.

Trevor Weeks was shocked by the bird’s poor state of health. He said: “The duck’s feather condition is terrible, with split, frayed and broken feathers, there was a wound to the back which is similar to what we see when dogs catch waterfowl, plus what looks like an infection in both feet. As well as being underweight the poor creature was very shocked and pale, too. The duck clearly needs to be under veterinary treatment and is suffering.”

The duck was warmed up and given some food before being taken to the Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton to be assessed and start a new life.

Kathy said: “This duck is very lucky and will be given a new home. This isn’t the first time we’ve been called out only to find we’re dealing with a domestic animal. We do not have facilities to take in domestic animals and it was lucky we were already doing a trip to the swan sanctuary to collect a swan, so we were able to deliver him to them. It is not uncommon for people to dump pets into the wild, thinking they can take their chances or have a good life.

“Apart from it being illegal, it’s not fair on the animals which often end up suffering. Domestic animals are normally shut away at night and kept in a secure environment so not used to having to worry about predators. When they go downhill it ends up being a slow and distressing death. Other animals regularly dumped include terrapins, domestic rabbits and African pygmy hedgehogs. Taking on an animal is a long term commitment and you shouldn’t do it unless you can afford to look after it, feed it, pay vets’ bills, and keep it in a secure environment.”