Another saddening shooting issue has come to surface a few days ago which made the shorebird world completely speechless. The duck hunting season started in the mid weekend of March in Victoria’s wetlands with the off-limits to members of the general public before 10am and for 2 hours before sunset unless they have licence to shoot ducks. This restriction is effective for the entire 12 weeks of the duck season.
BirdLife Australia CEO Paul Sullivan said:
The majority of Victorians are opposed to duck shooting and want to see the sport banned. Yet the Government has introduced changes to the Wildlife Regulations that ignore the welfare of birds.
In a media release posted prior to the season opening Conservation Manager of BirdLife Australia Dr Jenny Lau said:
So the only people who’ll know what’s going on in the wetlands at prime shooting times will be the shooters themselves. With recent staff cuts, we have no confidence that the Department of Primary Industries will be there to look out for the welfare of our wildlife.
Dr Lau has concerned that native waterfowl is at risk and said the Government has failed to consult with BirdLife Australia about the duck season.
Given the very dry conditions this year, lake levels have dropped dramatically in some parts of the State causing waterbirds to concentrate on remaining wetlands. It’s important that the distribution of waterfowl at wetlands is reviewed to determine whether there are adequate refuges for all wetland species.
Shortly after the media release and first weeks of the hunting season horrible and tragic images posted on BirdLife Australia Facebook Page. Images showed dead Pink-eared Ducks, Grey Teal, Eurasian Coots, Red-necked Avocets, Blue-billed Ducks and Hardheads. Shocked BA statement on Facebook says:
This is what happens when hunters shoot indiscriminately into flocks into flocks – how else could you mistake an avocet for a duck?
BirdLife Australia asks their members and others to register their protest by contacting the local State MP and Minister Peter Walsh. Their details are here: http://www.vic.gov.au/contactsandservices/directory/?ea0_lfz149_120.&organizationalUnit&d36b8970-490d-4b28-b507-f537e77c77c8
Thanks for BirdLife Australia for providing details for this post!