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Fish-Walking Ducks Imperilled By New Rules

Spillway
Spillway,
originally uploaded by Lottery Monkey.

The New York Times had an interesting story Monday about a endangered and strange animal tourist attraction in western Pennyslvania. The animals themselves aren’t endangered. They’re just carp and mallards. For 75 years the carp have been gathering in such thick numbers that mallard ducks walk on their backs to get bread thrown by tourists.

Linesville bills itself as “Where the Duck Walk on the Fish.” The problem is that someone in the Pymatuning State Park has decided that the duck droppings have reached unacceptable proportions. So they are demanding that everyone switch to pellets. That would rule out the ducks. And the many duck-themed businesses around town. Which has locals fighting back.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has looked into the environmental impact of the situation before. The spectacle is supposed to bring in $55 million to the area. One study by Clarion University biology professor Andrew Turner found that the bread increased phosphorous in the reservoir by 50%. Too much phosphorous could produce too much algae. But the paper says that a local fish hatchery and sewage plant probably produce more phosphorous.

Look, the attraction is by no means natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth sparing. People enjoy getting a close up look at the carp and ducks. Somehow it’s always the people who just want to see nature who end up on the short end of the stick in these economic equations. It’s ridiculous to say that we should get rid of the fish-walking ducks because they’re unnatural when we’re talking about a manmade reservoir near a fish hatchery.

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIE6DxtcSGU&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01&border=1]

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