ABU DHABI // Hundreds of residents are rallying around their feathered friends after managers said ducks would be removed from their community’s lakes because their droppings were a health hazard.
The residents at isolated Al Ghadeer, on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, have signed an online petition after receiving an email which said the 30 ducks would be moved because their excrement could spread disease and the birds themselves got in the way of cleaning the lakes.
In two days, 257 residents signed the “Save Al Ghadeer Ducks” petition at change.org after the email from facility management company Khidmah on Monday said the ducks would be removed.
“The ducks obstruct the daily cleaning of the parks and walkways and the ducks’ poo may spread disease that can be transmitted to people,” said the email, without giving a date for the birds’ removal.
Lama Hotiet, who has been a tenant in Al Ghadeer for more than two years, started the petition.
“Clearly, priorities have not been set right lately in the community with regards to safety and health issues,” she said.
“There are other more pressing matters to be taken care of, such as the sewage overflowing issue that has been unsolved for months now, compared to the beautiful little ducks that lay harmless in lakes.”
Ms Hotiet said many residents moved to the community to enjoy its nature and wildlife.
“The lakes, greenery, wildlife [birds, ducks, rabbits, horses, camels] makes it attractive,” said the 27-year-old life coach. “People meet in the afternoon at the lakes with their kids to enjoy the ducks we are so eagerly fighting to keep in the community.
“Wildlife is a huge attraction to our community, especially to our friends who come by for a visit. They’re normally blown away, especially by the ducks.”
Both on the community’s Facebook page and on the petition page, residents have been making their views known, with petition signatories quick to defend the ducks.
One wrote: “Taking them away is taking something positive that we all enjoy and appreciate. Taking them away is a step backwards for the community.”
Another posted: “I’m signing because we love the ducks, they bring a lovely touch to our community, come on Khidmah there are bigger issues for you to deal with that affect us adversely everyday – sewerage issues, mosquitoes, pigeons, slow maintenance etc etc.”
Another signatory said the ducks were loved by all in the community, and added: “It would be terrible to see them go, just because Khidmah are too lazy to maintain the ponds properly.”
Dr Susan Aylott, founder of Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi, said ducks were very low maintenance and did not pose a hazard.
“Ducks can be controlled easily. However, people need to be educated on how to take care and be compassionate with ducks,” said Dr Aylott, who runs a programme to improve the lives of animals.
She said that faeces from any living thing, including humans, has the potential to cause sickness. “I hope the facility management will take the right decision and secure the environmental sustainability in the community for all its habitants,” she said.
Khidmah said: “We are committed to the safety and well-being of the ducks located in Al Ghadeer, where cleaning activities for the lake might pose a threat to their safety. The lakes require regular maintenance and cleaning, the process for which has the potential to cause harm – draining the lake and chemical treatment for algae.
“As a responsible community management company, we also need to consider the overpopulation of the lakes as ducks continue to lay eggs.
“Khidmah is committed to keeping Al Ghadeer’s community happy. We are looking into a number of safe options to guarantee the welfare of the ducks, and are holding a resident meeting next week to discuss the same with the community.”
(via The National)