A creature described as the “loneliest duck in the world” has appeared on the remote Pacific island of Niue, a tiny nation with a population of 1,600 that – until now – had no ducks.
The mallard, nicknamed “Trevor” after Trevor Mallard, a New Zealand MP, startled locals after arriving on the island earlier this year, though its origins remain a mystery.
Niue, a coral atoll which is self-governing in free association with New Zealand, has no wetlands or ponds, so the duck lives in a puddle. The local fire service regularly adds water to the puddle.
"Everybody knows about the duck," Randall Haines, a local resident, told ABC News.
"We drive into town every few days and you can’t help yourself, you just sort of look over and see if it’s still in the puddle, and it is. It seems quite happy, although it doesn’t have many friends."
Niue spans just 100 square miles and is one of the smallest countries in the world, and is a three-and-a-half hour flight from Auckland.
Claire Trevett, a journalist at the New Zealand Herald, recently visited the island for a holiday and learnt about the duck after asking for directions.
The duck and the evil rooster https://t.co/hMnQk6MW3o pic.twitter.com/nOI3uhs7I4
— Claire Trevett (@CTrevettNZH) September 5, 2018
"Someone said, ‘Turn right past the duck’ and then the whole story came out, the only duck on Niue," she said.
Locals believe the duck either blew over in a storm or was brought over on a ship.
"There was a boat in the harbour about three days before the duck was first sighted in its puddle," said Ms Trevett.
"I don’t know how viable it is but my suggestion is for New Zealand to sort out the biosecurity issues and Air New Zealand to fly the poor blighter over here.”
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The duck has been fed by locals but has recently been bullied by a rooster that became aware of the regular food supply.
Authorities have been considering relocating the duck or bringing in a companion.
According to The Guardian, one option for making the duck feel less lonely would involve bringing in replica birds, a tactic previously used to try to lure gannets to Mana Island off northern New Zealand.
Only one bird arrived – known as “Nigel, the lonely gannet” – which lived alone there until it died in February.
In 2015, an elephant from Sri Lanka spent three months on Niue before being transferred to a zoo in New Zealand. The stay was required to satisfy New Zealand’s quarantine laws.