Red-necked Avocets illegally shot in Victoria

Illegally shot Red-necked Avocets and other protected ducks species. Image courtesy of BirdLife Australia

Illegally shot Red-necked Avocets and other protected ducks species. Image courtesy of BirdLife Australia

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.
Shot Blue-billed Duck, a Threatened Species. Males like this dead bird are unmistakable - one of the most distinctive-looking ducks of Victoria. According to the Victorian Department of Primary Industries' own website, "The Blue-billed Duck is seldom observed to fly."

Shot Blue-billed Duck, a Threatened Species. Males like this dead bird are unmistakable – one of the most distinctive-looking ducks of Victoria. According to the Victorian Department of Primary Industries’ own website, “The Blue-billed Duck is seldom observed to fly.” Image courtesy of BirdLife Australia 

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!
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6 responses to “Red-necked Avocets illegally shot in Victoria

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  2. I am a memebr of Birds Australia, a wetland manager and a hunter. I find it very hard to beleive that a large number of non game birds were shot. Until autopsy results are out it could well be a case of botulism, as the conditions have been perfect for an out break. If , indeed, they ewere shot, I am outraged as a hunter and beleive that the perpertrators should have the book and the bok shelf thrown at them.

  3. Thank you for your comment. Probably you are right but based on the images BirdLife Australia posted (guess they are used images from trusted sources) the avocets are shot. Botulism does’t cause bleeding as it is clearly visible on the avocet’s belly.

    Years ago I was involved in the discussions with Hungarian Hunting Association and BirdLife Hungary on the conservation of Ferruginous Duck which was dramatically declined due to hunting. A hunter said the following: “Guys, you simply cannot imagine and understand that ecstasy what a hunter feels when a game bird is flying over his head. We just wanna shoot.” He said this kind of thinking is valid for most of the hunters. So this mentality says everything. Of course there are ethical hunters. I know some of them personally but the vast majority doesn’t care the value flying over them. You might disagree but if you are a responsible hunter, which I am sure you are, you know what I am talking about. I’d be very happy to see this issue clearer and learn more about the aftermath of the sad story.

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