Duck left to die a slow and painful death
A Paradise duck was the victim of stray shotgun pellets this weekend and required urgent veterinary treatment to prevent further suffering.
The duck, who has been named Honey, was lucky enough to have found refuge at the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust’s (WBRT) sanctuary, in Ohariu Valley.
WBRT founding trustee Craig Shepherd says Honey was unable to fly. X-ray images show she has a fractured leg and puncture wounds from six bits of steel shot embedded in her body, but there may be more.
"She would have died without human intervention and the Vet is considering putting a pin in her leg so she can walk again."
"We were lucky to have found Honey as injured birds feel vulnerable and usually hide under bushes."
Animal rights organisation SAFE is asking the Government for a ban on duck shooting.
Chief Executive Debra Ashton says non-target animals like Honey are frequently injured during the duck shooting season and suffer in silence.
"We wouldn’t find it acceptable to allow any other animal to slowly suffer like this," says Ms Ashton.
"When a shot is fired, hundreds of steel pellets fly out and can hit birds flying alongside the target bird. Losing the ability to fly or move properly is an early death sentence for a duck. Fish & Game claim that shooters retrieve all ducks, but Honey is proof that this isn’t always the case."
Overseas studies have shown wounding rates of between 10 and 30 per cent during the duck shooting season. That’s an estimated 200,000 birds, including natives, that could die slowly and painfully in New Zealand this season.
SAFE has asked Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage to fund independent research into wounding rates in New Zealand.
"We have no reason to believe the numbers would be any different here," says Ms Ashton
"Australia has already banned duck shooting in three states due to the cruelty involved. New Zealand needs to follow suit"