15 Days to Go. What did previous governments know that this one doesn't?
Jeff Kennett cancelled a duck shooting season in 1995. The Bracks government cancelled three during the Millennium drought. Yet in two weeks time, the Andrews government will open thousands of our public waterways across the state to unmonitored shooting of our desperately struggling native waterbirds despite low bird numbers and unprecedented climatic conditions.
Many birds have flown to Victoria seeking refuge in areas where there is water, only to become sitting ducks for recreational duck shooters.
Why is this government ignoring not only public opinion polls which show the majority of people want duck shooting banned, but scientific evidence screaming out that it needs to be as a matter of urgency?
With Australia's unique wildlife being decimated around them, who will our children blame when they can't enjoy the wildlife we do today? It's a shameful legacy for todays leaders to leave.
January 2019 Guardian Australia reported;"Bird experts have warned that the population security of popular game birds could be at risk if the 2019 duck hunting season goes ahead.
Water bird experts have suggested the season should be suspended to preserve the breeding populations, saying that mass fish kills in the Murray-Darling system are a sign animals that rely on that system are in trouble.
Most game species abundances were well below long-term averages, in some cases by an order of magnitude, the report said. Six out of eight species continue to show significant long-term declines.
Key breeding grounds, like the Menindee Lakes, were dry or nearly dry in 2018.
Lead researcher Richard Kingsford said that the decline in waterbird numbers was directly linked to the drought and drying wetlands, and that without juvenile birds to shoot, hunters risked killing the breeding stock.
“There are always real dangers in having a season in these very dry years, and it’s also a danger for duck hunters, because you can do some damage to the breeding adults and it lessens your population for future hunting,” Kingsford told Guardian Australia.
Birdlife Australia spokesman Sean Dooley said bird populations were already under stress.
“Anywhere in Victoria that has water is going to be crucial for the future survival of water birds,” he said.
Sadly, since that Guardian Australia article was published record dry hot conditions have only persisted, set to continue for the foreseeable future, further placing our native waterbirds under stress. We have now had the "hottest start to Autumn in 30 years, following the hottest summer on record" the Bureau of Meterology's senior forecaster told Nine News this week.
A recent comment by the highly reputable Birdlife Australia here; https://www.birdlife.org.au/media/thousands-of-ducks-set-to-be-killed/
Picture Pacific Black Duck, courtesy Eleanor Dilley