Australian Hunting Season Started With Death of an Endangered Duck

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Despite the death of vulnerable species on the opening day of this year’s season, Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, has rejected demands to ban duck hunting.

Natasha Bassett, Wildlife Victoria’s chief veterinarian, said the first duck she treated was a female blue-winged shoveler who joined rescue crews at Lake Bael Bael near Kerang on Wednesday.

Endangered Ducks

THE KOLOA IS A

(Photo : CHRISTOPHER MALACHOWSKI, OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY)

Because both the blue-winged shoveler and the hardhead ducks have just been designated as endangered owing to falling numbers, hunters are barred from killing them this season in Victoria.

The duck’s radius and ulna were fractured, preventing it from completely extending its wing to fly, and it had to be euthanized. Rescuers also discovered the body of a male blue-winged shoveler.

Bassett said she had dealt with other duck species that had been left behind and were permitted to kill. However, hunters are supposed to make reasonable attempts to recover all downed ducks as soon as possible.

Andrews acknowledged that recreational shooting “wasn’t for everyone” but advised those who do partake to observe the regulations.

Some people enjoy golf. Some folks go out and shoot. That is their option, but there are regulations, and he has seen reports that the rules have been breached, he told reporters on Thursday.

Also Read: British Big Game Hunters No Longer Allowed to Bring Trophies Back to the UK

Campaign to Prohibit

Several Labor MPs, including Lizzie Blandthorn, Josh Bull, Jordan Crugnale, Katie Hall, Dustin Halse, Gary Maas, and Steve McGhie, have openly campaigned for the sport to be prohibited. In contrast, top cabinet officials have stated their desire for it to be outlawed.

“It’s not something I do myself,” Andrews said when asked if he favors duck hunting. “But as the head of the government, it’s permitted. Therefore the answer to the question is definitely yes.”

According to him, the Game Management Authority follows a strict process to establish the length of each season and the bag limit for hunters, which is dependent on weather and duck counts.

Experience in Triaging Ducks

Musk Duck

(Photo : Photo from wikimedia.org)

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According to Bassett, it’s her sixth year conducting triage work in the marshes during hunting season. She claimed that the triage crew only treated a small percentage of injured birds because most flew away hurt.

“You hear the gunfire, and then you see them drop a few feet in the air with just a small beat in their wings, and you know they’ve been struck but still have the strength to disappear [in] a few of kilometers,” Bassett explained.

New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia have prohibited duck hunting. However, it is still practiced in Victoria, the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Tasmania.

The season in Victoria started on Wednesday and will end on June 13th, with a daily bag limit of four birds.

Longest Season Since 2018

The season was the longest since 2018, when the previous one lasted only 20 days due to lower-than-average bird populations and nesting.

RSPCA Victoria requested that the 2022 duck hunting season be canceled due to animal welfare issues and evidence that waterbird populations are declining in its submission to the Game Management Authority.

When Victoria paused its duck hunting season from 2007 to 2008, the latest Aerial Survey of Waterbirds in Eastern Australia revealed that overall waterbird populations were approaching the millennium drought low.

It discovered that game species abundances were much lower than long-term averages, with six out of eight game species experiencing severe long-term decreases.

Related Article: A Third of Wisconsin’s Wild Wolves Killed in 60 Hours After Being Removed From Endangered List

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