There are various types of animals and birds in the world, many of which are quite useful to man. One of those animals is the Eider polar duck, a native of Iceland. Hunters spend the entire day looking for this duck in the wilderness and swamps, because of the extremely expensive feathers of these ducks, which can fetch a price no less than gold.
The hunt for the Eider polar duck usually goes on in summer in the Breiðafjörður Bay of West Iceland. The duck’s feather is in huge demand since it is considered the best-quality natural fiber in the world. It is used by big brands to manufacture luxury products. These feathers are extremely lightweight and provide loads of warmth to the body.
This fiber is taken from the lower neck of the Eider polar duck. This fiber matures when the duck begins to hatch its eggs by sitting on them. The amount of fiber per duck is very little, making its availability a challenge. In the international market 800 grams of the fiber costs around $5000 (Rs 3.71 lakh).
Gathering the feathers of this duck is a source of employment for locals in Iceland. According to them, if they find only eggs in a duck’s nest, they pick up a feather that might be lying there; and if the Eider duck is also present, then they collect all the feathers. There are roughly three times in a year when this process of finding and stripping ducks is carried out. Collectors have to find as many as 60 ducks for one kilogram of feather. The interesting part is that no ducks are harmed in this process, thereby making the collection of this fiber a cruelty-free ‘hunting’ in the world.