Leisure provider blasted as duck found mangled in Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 14:26 05 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:53 05 December 2017

Duck in fence

Duck in fence

Finesse Leisure has come under fire after photos emerged of a dead duck hanging from a net fence in Welwyn Garden City.

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The photos were taken by Derek Oakley, 43, of Handside, while he was walking his dog around Stanborough Lakes at 8am on Saturday.

The accountant said: “I looked over and saw the white duck handing from the fence.

“It must have got stuck and either died of panicking, being strangled, or hanging.

“It’s horrible to think it could have been a slow death.”

The fence was put up five years ago by Finesse Leisure, which manages the lakes on behalf of Welwyn Hatfield Council.

Mr Oakley added: “That duck would still be alive if it wasn’t for that fence. Its death was unnecessary.

“There is not enough holes in it for the ducks to get through and on countless occasions I have seen ducks fly into it.

“I once even had to help a mother duck get around it so she could get to her young because she was confused and getting upset that she couldn’t get to her babies.

“The fence needs to be changed and Finesse Leisure need to think of a better way to keep people off the island. The current fence is harmful to the ducks.”

Derek’s partner shared the news of the white duck on social media with many criticising the current fence.

Angela Consdanti, of Welwyn Garden City, said: “I took my children on the boats this summer and one of the fences was down so we went through, but I wish I hadn’t.

“There was more than 15 dead ducks on the island and the fences were meant to stop people going on them but all it’s doing is stopping the ducks from being able to safely breed and live.

“I had to do some quick thinking and tell my children they were asleep. It was so awful and sad.”

A spokesman for Finesse Leisure said: “The fence was erected around the lake as an extra safety precaution when a few cases of bird flu had been reported, although not locally.

“The fence also served as a deterrent to members of the public using the boats who would sometimes get onto the islands where ducks were nesting.

“We made small holes to enable the ducks to move through the fence and will be reviewing its position following this sad incident to help ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

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