Media release

Endangered species still at risk in 2024 duck hunting season

Monday, 8 April 2024

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Endangered species still at risk as recommendations ignored despite record number of wetlands closed to hunting

VICTORIA: BirdLife Australia still has concerns for Endangered Brolgas, Australasian Bitterns and other protected species at wetlands that will remain open to hunters this season despite being recommended for closure during the 2024 duck hunting season in Victoria.  

Thirty-two wetlands will be closed or partially closed — more than ever before — following extensive monitoring by multiple environmental organisations, including BirdLife Australia, which found the sites to support significant populations of birds recognised in state, federal and international threatened species listings.  

However, a number of sensitive sites will remain open despite being recommended for closure by BirdLife Australia, including Lake Elingamite where Endangered Australasian Bitterns have been seen, and Gaynor Swamp, where Endangered Brolgas are present. BirdLife Australia is also concerned that hunters will be able to request that wetlands be reopened if they report an absence of threatened species at a site. Given the daily movement of birds, re-opening sites based on such reports is risky.  

Two Brolga, facing opposite directions, one behind the other, surrounded by long grass.
Brolgas are listed as an endangered bird in Victoria. Image by Mardi Harrison

“The Government has responded to most of our recommendations and closed a record number of sites this year, which we welcome,” said BirdLife Australia CEO Kate Millar, “but we are calling again for duck hunting to be banned in Victoria.” 

“Decades of waterbird monitoring in Australia tell us there is an ongoing and significant population decline in most species of waterbirds – including five of Victoria’s eight species of game ducks.” 

“The fact that sensitive sites that have protected species will remain open to hunting this season also shows that recreational duck hunting is not a sustainable practice in Victoria.” 

“Every year threatened species are shot, killed or have critical phases of their life cycle disturbed, along with many thousands of ducks.“ 

“It’s long past time that we banned duck hunting, as was recommended by the Victorian Parliament and supported by members of the Allan Government.”  

The Eastern Australian Waterbird Survey, an independent survey conducted annually by experts at the University of New South Wales, shows waterbird populations have declined as much as 90% over the last forty years in eastern Australia. Despite this, in the last ten years, an average of 320,000 ducks were shot and killed each hunting season in Victoria alone.  

BirdLife Australia will continue monitoring wetlands and bird population movements and make further recommendations to the Victorian Government and Game Management Authority. 

BirdLife Australia CEO Kate Millar is available for comment. 


BirdLife Australia Media Enquiries: Please contact Erin Farley on 0404864593 or at media@birdlife.org.au.