NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Wildlife Service Wants To Buy Ducks: $3 Million Each

August 25, 1999

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service runs a program which uses the proceeds from the sale of Duck Stamps and gun and ammunition fees to acquire refuge lands that benefit hunters. But it wants to use the funds to acquire a tropical island 1,000 miles south of Hawaii which not only bans hunters, but also has only 10 ducks. The cost would be $30 million.

  • A spokeswoman says buying the island is the agency's top acquisition priority this year.
  • But to qualify for funding from the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, the habitat acquired must be for game or nongame migratory birds -- specifically ducks, geese, crows and doves.
  • According to a congressional staffer, none of the species on the island "falls anywhere near" that definition.
  • The uninhabited atoll would be designated as a national wildlife refuge to protect its tropical rain forest and coral reef, which are reportedly home to endangered species.

"While I value birds as much as anyone," commented Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), chairman of the House Resources Committee, "$3 million a duck seems rather high."

Source: Audrey Hudson, "Hill Panel to Probe Plan to Buy Island," Washington Times, August 25, 1999.


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