Pond clean reveals slippery surprise

Invercargill's Queens Park's duck pond has been cleaned for the first time in 30 years.

AN Invercargill park’s duck pond has been cleaned for the first time in three decades.

Queens Park, near the city centre, is home to many water-loving animals, including ducks and, as some recently found out, eels.

About 60 eels had to be relocated when the pond was recently cleaned for the first time in 30 years.

At a cost of about $62,000, water was drained, the bottom cleaned out and fresh gravel and water put in.

The Invercargill City Council (ICC) posted the news on social media, prompting several people to express their approval of the pond maintenance, as well as surprise at the eels’ existence.

An ICC spokesperson said the pond had not been cleaned in 30 years as the council did not want to disturb the habitat too much.

“But, over the years it had become necessary to clean out the pond due to various issues.”

The main duck pond was built between 1912 and 1917.

The spokesperson said the origin of the eels was unknown, but they were capable of travelling across land and probably moved to the pond of their own accord.

“Queens Park also has an extensive waterway and pond network that can further facilitate their movement.”

As the eels were of various sizes, they were probably also breeding in the pond, the spokesperson said.

While they were moved, they did not travel far.

All the eels were caught and relocated to the top main aviary pond at Queens Park.

“This will allow them to use the existing waterways and ponds to move down to the duck pond if they wish to do so.”

During the cleaning process, staff found several items, including a bicycle, fire extinguisher and a lot of traffic cones and glass bottles.

Iwi were consulted and there were no eel casualties during the move.