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Over a billion birds and animals have died in recent fires so far

Will Our Remaining Native Waterbirds be Condemned for the Shooting Fun of a Few?

Scientific survey evidence published late 2019 showed record dry hot spells were crippling our native waterbird populations even before unprecedented fires. Fires which have so burnt an area the size of England.

· Wetland area (directly linked to waterbird abundance) was lowest since surveys began 37 years ago with little if any breeding amongst “game” species.

· Bird numbers were well below long term averages, many by order of magnitude. Those observed in Victoria had declined by a huge 40% since 2018.

· Lack of water habitat between north and south meaning remaining birds were effectively marooned, “sitting ducks” if any kind of shooting season is allowed.

Now with over a billion animals dead just in NSW and Vic, and unknown long term effects on animal life of smoke in the air and ash in the water, there is overwhelming reason for a cease fire.

Lack of confidence in regulation sparks FOI request in the public interest.

A copy of Game Management Authority’s (GMA’s) recommendation to the Ministers re last shooting season, was obtained through Freedom of Information by RVOTDS last year. In that, It’s hard to see what science or evidence GMA – the taxpayer funded regulator led by duck shooters and said to be “too close with shooters” -was abiding by.

This year it is definitely in the public interest to ensure our precious wildlife are in safe hands.

Why GMA refused to accept statements by regional and environmental organisations during the submissions process, yet felt it was appropriate for Australian Deer Association to join the duck shooting stakeholder meeting, we believe is a concern.

The lack of robust bird “harvest” data, the unavoidable cruelty associated with high wound rates of shotgun pellet dispersal, the inability to monitor the thousands of waterways duck shooting is allowed and the non-compliance where it is monitored (and despite later start times), are all further reasons for a halt to shooting.

But are GMA too close to shooters to make an impartial recommendation?

The public – locally and internationally who are showing they value our wildlife significantly through millions of dollars in donations– have a right to know.

That’s why RVOTDS have once again requested a copy of GMA’s recommendation regarding a 2020 season which we hope to obtain shortly.

An announcement about a 2020 recreational native duck shooting season in Victoria is due soon. Irrespective of what GMA’s recommendation may be, Ministers make the final decision.

“If you take care of birds, you take care of most of the environmental problems of the world”

- Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, Professor and Biologist who coined the term “Biodiversity".


· Eastern Australia Annual Aerial Survey Centre for Ecosystem Science University NSW

· FOI requests of RVOTDS

· Pegasus Consulting Report 2017 (re GMA)

Australian Wood Ducks, picture Eleanor Dilley


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