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December 2000

Fowl Play

Why birds at Nymphenburger Schloßpark must be killed by city hunters

Recent reports on permits being issued to shoot waterfowl on the Nymphenburg Palace grounds incited the fury of many Munich animal lovers. When Munich Found inquired into the background of this hunting license, the palace administration revealed an alarming set of facts. It maintains that it has been forced to take such severe measures in order to protect the park because visitors continually overfeed the park’s bird population. Though feeding the birds may seem to benefit them, in fact, it has exactly the opposite effect. The easy availability and overabundance of food leads to overpopulation, which in turn causes unnatural aggressiveness among the animals. Furthermore, owing to a significant lack of minerals in their diet, the birds fall prey to detrimental lethargy, which endangers the health of the population at large. It also has a peculiarly pernicious effect on the park’s water ecology, for the animals become so indolent that they unnaturally urinate in and pollute the park’s canals. The palace administration therefore decided to reduce the number of birds in its park by permitting licensed hunters to shoot birds each morning before the park gates open to the public. This measure, however, has no effect on the main problem: that visitors overfeed the birds. It is therefore imperative that visitors to the park be better informed through more educational material as well as by more signs being posted in the park, which clearly indicate in at least three languages the negative reprecussions involved in feeding the animals. <<< KA

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