PRESS RELEASE: Duck shooting season could devastate bird populations

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PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On JAN 3, 2017

Animals Australia has condemned the Victorian government’s decision to allow the duck shooting season to go ahead in 2017, saying it will deliver a devastating blow to already dwindling water bird populations.

The organisation has written to the Game Management Authority, urging it to consider Bureau of Meteorology predictions that this summer will be hotter and drier than usual.

“The hot and dry conditions will likely destroy the habitat waterbirds need to breed, which, combined with hunting, could have an irreversible effect on bird numbers,” said Animals Australia Executive Director Glenys Oogjes.

“Populations of ‘game’ ducks are already estimated to be at a 34 year low so it is short-sighted and utterly irresponsible to allow shooters back onto the wetlands.”

Animals Australia said it is simplistic to suggest that a single good rain season can address the long term decline of native waterbirds.

“Indeed, a recreational season will in all likelihood kill a huge portion of the young birds bred last year and seriously impede what should have been some respite for these depleted populations,” said Ms Oogjes.

The ongoing availability of Adler shotguns – able to fire five shots consecutively – was another cause for concern, with at least 600 Victorians already in possession of the firearm.

“Many Victorians would be shocked to learn that shooters don’t even have to sit a competency test to show they can shoot straight, nor do they have to sit regular tests to prove they can tell the difference between a ‘game’ bird and a protected species,” Ms Oogjes said.

“So it is little wonder that every year, protected and vulnerable native water birds are shot and killed illegally, and every season, thousands of birds are injured and left to suffer and die a painful and prolonged death.”

“There is nothing ‘sustainable’ or ‘responsible’ about duck shooting in Victoria. It is disappointing that once again, the interests of a minority of hunters have been put ahead of animals, the environment and Victorians, who overwhelmingly want an end to this cruel ‘sport’,” she added.

South Australia recently closed and restricted shooting on some wetlands due to water bird numbers being the lowest on record since 2003.

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Available for interview:
Glenys Oogjes — Executive Director

Media contact:
Lisa Zilberpriver
0447 011 409
lisazil@animalsaustralia.org

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