Populations under threat
Bird populations fluctuate from year to year and there are a number of threats to native ducks.
Habitats are under threat with the loss of New Zealand's wetland areas. Over 90% of our wetlands are gone due to human activities threatening the survival of many plants and animals. Ducks are also at risk from introduced predators. Hunting adds yet more pressure to their continued survival.
Duck shooting is not conservation
Normally pest control will be carried out by government agencies and they will do it in a professional manner. In contrast, duck shooting encourages thousands of amateur shooters to herd up animals, frightening them and then shooting them. Because of the cruelty involved in shooting at birds in flight, when many will only be injured and left to die slowly, shooting is one of the least humane ways to control a wild population.
Whenever conservation is raised as a possible reason for shooting ducks, there is a failure to address the role played by humans in causing damage to the environment, damage far more extensive than that done by our own native wildlife.
If population control is needed, humane alternatives exist. These include collection of eggs in areas considered overpopulated, which would reduce numbers over time. Farmers can also make use of the bird's natural fear of predators by using crop protection methods such as decoys.
Duck hunting is banned in three Australian states due to the extreme suffering it causes, and SAFE will continue its fight until this blood sport is illegal in New Zealand as well.