A town’s historic duck population has virtually vanished without trace – prompting fears they’ve been EATEN.
The prized Moscovy ducks have been a popular sight in Buckfastleigh, Devon, for years.
But locals in the quiet market town that lies beside the Benedictine monastery at Buckfast, fear the entire flock could soon be destined for the dinner table.
In the past few weeks 24 ducks have disappeared without a trace, leaving just a handful behind.
The local duck population has only just recovered from a highly-infectious disease that wiped out around 40 birds.
But experts have warned that antibiotics used to treat survivors for deadly Duck Viral Enteritis – or ‘duck plague’ – will have contaminated the birds, making them unfit for human consumption.
Duck feeders are convinced that poachers are stealing the ducks to sell or eat.
Among those supposedly taken are Queenie and Bob, two of the first birds to settle in the town’s Orchard Millennium Garden 15 years ago.
Regular feeder Pam Barrett, who noticed the pair missing, said: “The place looked as though it had been washed down to clear away any signs of blood.
“They survived the virus because they didn’t mix with the other ducks. They liked the quiet life and just sat on the wall minding their own business. It’s so sad.”
Police have been informed and have appealed for information.