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Farmers hang wild ducks around farms to protect crops

2012/04/30 21:30:53

Taipei, April 30 (CNA) Tourists visiting Sanxing Township in Yilan County have been horrified to see many wild ducks hung on local farms, but farmers said they simply want to scare away wild fowl that are eating into their young crops.

Wild ducks roam untilled land in the township that is renowned for its fat, large green onions. From these natural "bases," they swoop into nearby farmland to feed on seedlings.

Farmers have been using firecrackers and scarecrows to drive the encroachers away, to no avail. Desperate for a solution, they turned to dead ducks, hanging them all around to warn living ducks not to destroy their crops anymore.

Some people have wondered if this method to fight off the intruders was working, fearing that tourists might be the ones scared away instead.

Huang Hsi-yung, a town councilman, has urged the township government to encourage owners of fallow land where the wild ducks congregate to rent it to people who want to grow fruit or vegetables.

"If more idle land is tilled we will be creating a win-win-win situation for land owners, farmers and the environment," Huang said, an approach that township authorities are currently trying.

A township official said a plan to levy taxes on fallow or waste land was dropped after the local government could not find a legal basis for the move.

The township has also tried to clamp down on owners of untended land where wild grass has grown to "illegal" heights by fining them, but such fines do not apply to the "suspect" land in Sanxing Township, either. (Shen Ju-feng and S.C. Chang)