|A fellow activist living in South Florida reported that a Muscovy duck recently laid a nest of eggs at her doorstep. Because there was no conservation area for the ducks close by her home, she generously took it upon herself to contact many animal welfare groups, rescue groups and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She was appalled that the FFWCC refused to help her, and instead, told her that the ducks and the eggs were a nuisance and they should all be destroyed.
I did a little research on my own to see what we can do to help the Muscovy ducks.
Muscovy ducks have lived and flourished in Florida for many years; however, they are considered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to be a non-native species and therefore cannot be protected in any way. I was surprised to learn that it’s actually illegal to relocate and release a non-native species, such as Muscovy ducks. While migratory birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and species native to Florida such as the Mottled duck are also protected, domestic ducks are not protected by Florida law (F.A.C. 39-1.004(87). Unfortunately for the Muscovy ducks, they are considered a domestic and exotic duck in Florida and therefore not protected. It is also illegal in Florida to release Mallard ducks, due to fear that continued breeding with Mottled ducks will render the Florida-native Mottled ducks extinct (F.A.C. 68a-4.0052).
The FFWCC actually suggests on their website that if you see a Muscovy duck nest, you can help with “flock control” by “removing some eggs from the nest, shaking them vigorously, and returning them to the nest.” CLICK HERE for details.
According to Florida’s Breeding Bird Atlas, Muscovy ducks are considered a nuisance because of “aggressive panhandling and because they defecate in swimming pools and on patios and docks.” CLICK HERE for more information.
Please contact the executive director of the FFWCC, Kenneth Haddad, and politely let him know that his job is to conserve wildlife, not destroy it. All animals in Florida should be protected and not be in danger of being “destroyed.”
Kenneth Haddad, Executive Director
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Farris Bryant Building
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
Fax: (850) 488-1961
Also contact your Florida state representatives and encourage them to pass legislation to protect all animals in Florida.
For more information about Muscovy ducks, including a petition you can sign to encourage the state legislators to change the classification of the Muscovy ducks from exotic to native, please visit http://www.duckhaven.org/index.html.