Bendigo Advertiser Letters to the Editor: Duck hunting, waterbirds, thanks

Celebrate, don’t decimate, native waterbirds

We should be celebrating, not decimating, our struggling native waterbirds. Any day now the Andrews government will announce what will or won’t be, in terms of a native waterbird shooting season in 2019.

For the sake of our struggling native waterbirds and the communities they (used to) frequent, let’s hope our new Labor Government is indeed progressive, true to its word on protecting our unique wildlife and governing for all Victorians – majority of whom oppose this activity (Morgan Poll), in calling a cease-fire.

Latest scientific data – which the new CEO of Game Management Authority refers to as “the most significant piece of data”, shows our native waterbirds have fallen even further from last year’s desperately low numbers, remaining well below average with many “game bird” numbers low by order of magnitude. This year, habitat and breeding indices are also desperately low. And if you think it couldn’t get any worse, throw record dry conditions and heat spells into the mix – heat spells set to continue through January to March according to Bureau of Meteorology.

Read more: Surveillance drone deployed as duck hunting season begins

Our native waterbirds, many unique to our country, need our urgent protection. Birds turn out to be doubly as affected as mammals from climate change, an international team of scientists found, after checking 481 species in 987 populations around the world (published by Zoological Society of London in the journal Global Change Biology). Nearly 40% of the world’s birds are in decline, largely due to human activity including hunting (State of The World’s Birds 2018).

It’s not just the 400,000 – 500,000 birds shot each year in Victoria (and this number is without the minimum 1 in 4 wounded, flying away to die a slow painful death) that are impacted. There is a ripple effect through the species as many are monogamous, forming life-long pairs. When one is shot, it’s likely not only the offspring won’t survive but the remaining partner may never recover or re-pair. Independent experts have submitted compelling scientific reasons for years on why the native waterbird shooting seasons should not go ahead, but every year they go ahead anyway. Season “modifications” make little if any difference.

Meanwhile, our native waterbirds are being decimated, along with our rural communities’ chances of prospering from the benefits of nature-based tourism. Less than 0.4 per cent of the population are licensed to shoot ducks. Only half of them turned out to shoot last season. It’s time for strong progressive leadership, ditching duck shooting for the more popular, humane, sustainable and lucrative nature-based tourism. It’s time to get it done.

Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting Inc. 

Thanks for help at Saint Kilians on Christmas Eve

I wish to express my thanks and appreciation to all who came to my assistance at Saint Kilian’s on Christmas Eve especially all the nurses who stayed with me, ensuring I was well cared for until the ambulance arrived, and the kindness of others who gave support to myself and my wife.  

The ambulance paramedics, James and his wonderful assistant, whose name escapes me, who checked me throughly before giving me the ok to go home. Happy New Year to you all.

John Watson, Wagga Wagga

Letters must carry the name, full address and  telephone number of the author. The writer’s name and suburb/town will be published. We reserve the right to edit letters. Letters which are deemed inappropriate will not be published.Send letters to Bendigo Advertiser, PO Box 61, Bendigo 3552 or at bendigoadvertiser.com.au

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