Giant duck living happily on secret Norfolk farm
One of the last giant ducks alive anywhere in the world is having a quacking time on a Norfolk farm.
The Bigus Duckus species has all but been wiped out after centuries of hunting and attacks from wild dogs and wolves.
Just 17 of the giant ducks, which can reach up to 15 feet tall, are still thought to be alive, with all being cared for at secret sanctuaries.
One is in Britain, and is living on a farm near Downham Market in Norfolk, where it has been part of the same farming family for nearly 40 years.
The Bigus Duckus duck is called – perhaps not surprisingly – Donald, and seems to be well looked after.
Pictured here with his handler, Donald spends his days grazing on lush Norfolk meadows and wallowing in a pond made big enough for him to swim in.
He is just like any other duck, although his wings have been clipped – not just to prevent escape, but also because he would be a risk to nearby air traffic.
A spokesman for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: “Donald has been living a carefree life in Norfolk for dozens of years.
“Giant ducks were a common beast many hundreds of years ago, and used to roam the plains of what is now Europe.
“However, since around 600AD we know that man began getting a taste for duck, and the Bigus Duckus was hunted for its meat.
“When the early Chinese takeaways began to open, the giant duck was soon at risk of extinction.
“But a few have been kept alive, including Donald. We know of a breeding pair in a zoo in China, so hopefully there will be some giant ducklings soon.”
Donald’s handlers – whom we are not naming to protect the duck’s privacy – say he is easy to look after.
“He is very friendly and has his own field with a pond and a very high fence.
“And for a treat, he loves being put on his lead and taken for a walk around the estate.
“He is just like a normal duck, really, although he has a really loud quack that scares the living daylights out of the other livestock.”