03 Dec 2021 Ruddy Duck eradication – Progress update 2021
What is it?
The Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) is an introduced species in Europe which main threat is hybridization with the native White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala). In the Bern Convention framework, an action plan was developed in the 1990s and has been updated every five years, most recently in 2020 to frame and coordinate eradication efforts. Especially, the Recommendation No. 209 (2020) of the Standing Committee on the eradication of the Ruddy Duck in the Western Palaearctic by 2025 that was adopted on 4 December 2020 recommends that all Contracting Parties implement without delay the actions specified in the “Action Plan for the Eradication of the Ruddy Duck in the Western Palaearctic, 2021-2025”. The goal of the Action Plan is to stop the Ruddy Ducks being a threat to the White-headed Duck, mainly by being functionally extinct in Europe by 2025.
What progress was made in 2021?
The topic was presented and discussed at the 41st meeting of the Bern Convention’s Standing Committee (29 November – 3 December 2021). The latest reports provided by all key countries (BE, FR, DE, NL, UK) highlight that efforts have been made to reduce the Ruddy Duck numbers in key countries, especially in France, as part of a LIFE Project. In 4 of the 5 key countries, fewer than 20 individuals have been reported and the overall population is between 150 and 175 birds, with at least two thirds in the NL.
These outcomes reflect that eradication of the Ruddy Duck in the wild by 2025 is achievable but the key challenge is the remaining “large” population in the Netherlands where efforts are much smaller than required due to difficulties linked to delegation to Provinces and overcoming political issues locally.
Contracting Parties will continue the implementation of the Action Plan for the Eradication of the Ruddy Duck 2021-2025 to achieve the objective which is now in reach. FACE will continue monitor the progress made and update the hunting community.