The University of New Mexico at Albuquerque is calling a fowl foul after a woman claims she saw a school employee monitoring the campus pond smash duck eggs and fatally injure an adult duck on university orders.
In a letter to the editor published in the Daily Lobo, the university’s student newspaper, Cheryl Gorder – which may be a pseudonym and is not the name of any UNM student – wrote:
By now I was on my feet, heading over to her as horror flooded over me. I realized that the 'white things' were duck eggs that she was killing and that the duck had been defending its nest and babies. Yes, I confronted her and asked her why she had done it. I was told that it was University policy because 'they were messy.'
University Director of Communication Dianne Anderson told The Huffington Post that the school denies these allegations. She said that in the 40 years the duck pond has been cared for by university officials, there have been no complaints of this nature.
"The University of New Mexico staff has found no evidence to substantiate that a duck was injured or killed or that eggs were smashed in the water," said Anderson in an emailed statement to HuffPost. "The duck pond is a favorite spot on campus and has been responsibly maintained by our staff for almost 40 years."
While the University does relocate ducks and dispose of their eggs to control the pond’s population, school officials have said their employees do so humanely.
Duck eggs are routinely taken to the physical plant for disposal by university facilities' employees during the ducks' mating and breeding seasons, said Anderson over the phone. She added that no one has come forward as a witness to these claims and that the school has not been able to reach Grober.
While the pond is so-named for its duck inhabitants, UNM has never stocked the pond's duck population. Anderson says that people from the community sometimes dump the squawking squatters by the pond, leaving the school to figure out how to control their growing numbers. When the duck population grows too large, ducks are given to a local animal shelter, so they may be adopted.
"We're not a facility like a zoo," said Anderson. "We're not set up to handle a lot of ducks."
While the school is not a zoo, university officials told KOAT that it would be willing to seek advice from zoo experts on how to best approach problems arising from the pond's duck population.