Winter Park approved a new program aimed at removing and reducing the number of muscovy ducks, which officials have labeled an “invasive species.”
On Wednesday, December 14, the Winter Park City Commission approved a muscovy duck removal program just a few months after receiving recommendations from advisory boards regarding the ducks.
City officials say that the ducks are an invasive species that can “impact water quality and the natural environment.” In September, the Winter Park Department of Natural Resources and Sustainability provided details about the impact of the ducks on the environment during meetings with the Lakes and Waterways and Keep Winter Park Beautiful and Sustainable advisory boards.
During those meetings, both boards unanimously approved the recommendation that the city commission adopt the new program.
The program will include an educational campaign through signs, flyers, and social media on the dangers of muscovy ducks to the environment. Officials will also modify habitats for the ducks in order to reduce food sources and comfortability.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, muscovy ducks were originally illegally released by private individuals for ornamental purposes, or as pets. The ducks have been introduced into urban and suburban areas in Florida where they often occur in high densities.
Muscovy duck species sometimes create problems through competition with native species, damage to property, and transmission of disease. In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revised its regulations concerning muscovy ducks. Winter Park officials say they will follow FWC regulations on removing the ducks.