this website uses cookies. by continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our cookies policy.
got it  X

Birdlife and death and people suffer too

Life in the air

"The Ramsar Convention encourages member countries to nominate sites containing representative, rare or unique wetlands, or that are important for conserving biological diversity, to the List of Wetlands of International Importance".

Peter Hylands, Laurie Levy

December 3, 2022

History matters, looking back to 2022 and what we said then.

The world’s Ramsar sites are immensely precious places. Duck shooting in the Australian State of Victoria accounts for the agonising death of a vast number of waterbirds each year. In 2011, 600,000 birds were slaughtered on Victoria’s wetlands including in numerous Ramsar sites. This remains an annual event, even as bid populations dwindle.

Image above: Laurie Levy being interviewed by TV crew.

In the sound file below Peter Hylands describes the state of a Ramsar site in the Kerang wetland system.

Peter Hylands and Laurie Levy discuss the coming duck shooting season

Wounding and suffering

The wounding rate for this birdlife is estimated to be between 18 and 35 per cent, so adding a further 108,000 to 210,000 to the total for the 2011 season.

The period prior to this in the Australian State of Victoria was equally shocking, by 2009 and over the previous 25 years, duck numbers in Victoria had declined by 75 per cent. 

Impact on people

Laurie Levy reflects on how duck shooting has a severe and traumatising impact on the people that witness the event. The scale of the killing can be particularly traumatising. These are dangerous places.

Rescuers in the water at the Kerang Ramsar Wetlands with then MP, Andy Meddick

"The main difference between duck shooters and duck rescuers is one of empathy. When a native waterbird is flying over a shooter and is hit by shotgun pellets, the shooter and those in his party will often cheer as the bird, still alive, spirals out of the sky towards the water.
Rescuers, on the other hand, who have empathy for the victims, are often traumatised by the sheer brutality shooters inflict on these defenceless and beautiful native waterbirds. The only reason volunteer rescuers are on the wetlands is to help as many wounded birds as they can and to recover illegally shot protected and threatened species for evidence". 

The trauma of it all is evident on this rescuer's face

"It is difficult for sensitive people to force themselves to witness the shocking violence that results in cruelty, pain and suffering that these birds are forced to endure, just so duck shooters can enjoy their so called recreational activity.
Rescuers are sensitive people who are only on the wetlands to help ease the suffering of wounded birds by taking the victims to our mobile veterinary clinic for treatment.
On the opening morning of the 2017 duck shooting season, the shooting was so intense that rescuers recovered 150 wounded birds that were taken to our mobile veterinary clinic. 
We were told that some Parks Victoria staff who were on duty that day to issue fines to rescuers who were in the water before 10am, were so traumatised that they told their managers they would refuse to attend another duck shooting opening weekend. 
A couple of weeks later, new and experienced rescuers had been so traumatised by the opening morning’s massacre, they needed to attend a special debriefing session held by a NSW trauma councillor, who paid his own way from Sydney to offer his services". 

"As at 2022, the slaughter of birdlife in the Australian State of Victoria still continued".

Let us all hope that the killing finally stops in 2023.