Elsewhere in the world, ducks are a fairly common sight, but Trevor’s presence on Niue was somewhat surprising. Before his arrival, there were no ducks on the remote island, commonly referred to as “the Rock” for its lack of wetlands, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.
Local officials believe Trevor — fittingly named after the speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Trevor Mallard — ended up on Niue after being blown there by a storm. But unlike other ducks who have made infrequent, and brief, visits in the past, Trevor stayed.
A muddy puddle on the side of a dirt road became his new home, and Trevor “became part of the community,” Rae Finlay, chief executive of Niue’s Chamber of Commerce, told The Washington Post in a phone interview early Tuesday.
But Trevor’s solitary existence, which attracted global attention and earned him the distinction of the “world’s loneliest duck,” has come to a tragic end.
“We’ve had confirmed reports that Trevor the Duck — Niue has died,” read a post Friday on the duck’s official Facebook page, which is run by Finlay. “He was seen dead in the bush after being attacked by dogs.”
Concern for Trevor, widely known as “a global celebrity and promoter of Niue,” began rippling through the island and on social media last week when many reported that the duck was no longer at his puddle and wondered where he may have gone.
“I’m lost and can’t find my Puddle,” a post on Trevor’s Facebook announced Wednesday. “Has anyone spotted me this week around Niue?”
Commenters were immediately alarmed.
“WHAAATTTT????? What is going on???,” wrote Claire Trevett, a journalist with the New Zealand Herald, who was one of the first to report on Trevor’s existence in September. The story, called “The sorry tale of Niue’s only duck,” went viral and helped launch the duck to international fame, Finlay said.
“Has he been Ducknapped????” another person asked. “Seriously I hope he is ok though.”
Trevor, Finlay would soon find out, was not okay.
“We went looking for him, and then one of the local families told us that a dog had got him,” she said. “Somebody saw the dog attack.”
Niue’s “lovely little duck friend” was laid to rest by a group of locals near his puddle, Finlay said.
“A lot of people will miss the fact that he’s no longer with us,” she said.
When Finlay first spotted Trevor in the puddle last year, she never thought he would take up a permanent residence on the island.
“I’ve seen him fly,” she said. “There didn’t appear to be anything wrong with him. We had no idea why he chose to stay there, but he did.”
Despite calls for a mate to be brought in or for Trevor to be moved to a place more suitable for ducks, Finlay said the proposed solutions presented their own issues. There were concerns about introducing a second duck “to a country with no natural water source,” she said, adding that Trevor’s puddle was “only big enough for one.” Moving Trevor was also a challenge because no one knew exactly where he came from, so many argued that the best option was to leave him be, she said.
“He certainly seemed happy where he was,” she said.
Before long, Trevor was a fixture in the community. A sign was erected near his puddle that read “Niue Duck Sanctuary,” and under Trevor’s name in smaller text was a description: “The lonely only duck in Niue.”
People regularly brought food to his puddle (his favorites included cooked rice, cabbage and corn) and gave him treats whenever he would stop by their lawns, Finlay said. When the puddle looked too dry, residents and the local fire department “always came to his rescue and topped him up until it rained,” she said.
Trevor became such a constant that locals even started using him as a reference point when giving directions, Trevett wrote, recalling that when she visited the island last year, someone instructed her to “turn right after the duck.”
Though headlines billed Trevor as “the world’s loneliest duck,” Finlay said the label wasn’t entirely accurate.
“He had plenty of visitors each day bringing him food, just checking on him or taking photos and selfies,” she said, noting that the duck also appeared to make friends with a chicken, a rooster and a weka, a flightless bird native to the island.
News of Trevor’s untimely death was met with an outpouring of grief on social media.
“Deepest sympathy to the people of Niue from the Parliament of New Zealand,” wrote the duck’s namesake, Mallard, on Facebook.
“Oh Trevor we will miss you,” one person commented, “thank you for gracing our shores for a year and for bringing my children a lot of joy. You also taught them to be compassionate and find fun in filling your pond.”
Another wrote, “Fly on, Trevor.”
Others were angered by how Trevor died, calling for the dog to be “put down."
“That dog should be put behind bars for life,” one person opined on Facebook.
Finlay, who regularly fed and checked in on Trevor, told The Post that she was “devastated."
“He will definitely be missed. He captured many hearts, and even the rooster, the chicken and the weka were looking a little forlorn today wandering around the near-dry puddle,” she said.
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