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Call to take Freckled Duck off endangered list

Call to take Freckled Duck off endangered list

Areas of Lake Bolac have been closed to duck hunters due to significant numbers of freckled duck prompting a call to review the status of current endangered species.
Several State Game Reserves and other wetlands have been subject to closures this season because of the presence of a high number of Freckled Duck which is classified as endangered. Their presence in high numbers is despite lower overall numbers of ducks due to the dry conditions.
“It makes you wonder if the science used to determine whether or not a species is endangered is being applied,” SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager David Laird said.
“Several State Game Reserves have been closed since duck season opening and now there is a further closure because of the presence of Freckled Duck. Lake Elizabeth was closed on the eve of Duck Season because of the presence of Freckled Duck.
“It has shown that animal activist extremism is ahead of sound science and common sense when making decisions which affect those of us who enjoy the cultural pursuit of hunting.”
Mr Laird said that SSAA Victoria accepted genuine reasons to restrict hunting in some areas where non-game species were present, but there needed to be a review of the status of Freckled Duck.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which determines whether a species is threatened or not, lists Freckled Duck in Australia as Least Concern.
“This is based on a Birdlife International study of the species so it begs the question how they can be considered endangered just in Victoria and on State Game Reserves,” Mr Laird said.
“The only reason we can see is the government bowing to pressure from extremist lobby groups who abuse and denigrate our members who are entitled to their lawful and cultural pursuit.”
Mr Laird said good recent rainfall through central Australia meant ideal breeding conditions for ducks ahead of the 2020 duck season.
“Lake Eyre is filling and there has been significant rainfall in the channel country which point to a massive increase in duck populations,” he said.
“We hope that if these conditions prevail, it will translate into some common sense applied to bag limits and declarations of threatened species next season.”
In the meantime, SSAA Victoria continues to lobby the government to improve process around these issues and to prevent unnecessary closures.
“Currently an area can be closed immediately but it takes days of bureaucratic red tape to get them reopened,” Mr Laird said.
“Hospital Swamp was closed due to the presence of Curlew Sandpipers, but hasn’t been reopened even though rising water levels saw the birds depart over a week ago.
“Provision should be made for the immediate reopening of any area subject to emergency closure once the cause of the closure is no longer valid.
“Victorian duck hunters are facing a reduced season and bag limits. Their hunting opportunities should not be further reduced and adversely affected by bureaucratic inefficiency.”