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Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth


Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth

The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill.

“So far, researchers have identified feral cats and rats, a dog and a hawk,” says SAFE Executive Director Hans Kriek. “The researchers seem to have missed the fact that hundreds of thousands of ducks are massacred by Fish & Game’s own members each year, not to mention the lethal effects of lead pellets shot into waterways that are slowly poisoning many species of birds.

It is a commonly held belief that ducks must be controlled because they are a pest. This misconception has greatly helped Fish & Game to justify its hunting practices by claiming that most of their targets are invasive non-native species. Keeping their numbers down is said to aid the survival of native water birds.

“Now that Mallards are in decline, Fish & Game’s true motives have become clear,” says Mr Kriek. A spokesman for the hunting group admitted on national television that hunters would like more birds to ‘harvest’ and that a higher population will sustain a larger ‘harvest’. “They simply want more of these birds around so that they can kill more,” says Mr Kriek. “This has nothing to do with conservation, wetland management or pest control; they just want to kill more animals for fun.

SAFE wants to see an end to recreational duck shooting. In addition to the large numbers killed, many birds end up crippled and maimed, and are left to die slow and agonising deaths.

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