Committed to conservation
A cordial meeting for the mutual benefit of the environment should have passed without controversy … but not when it involves duck hunters.
The North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) and Field & Game Australia have been working for some time on a more collaborative approach.
Both organisations have a deep commitment to good environmental outcomes, and for FGA, that goes back to 1958 and the self-imposed levy on hunters that established the State Game Reserve (SGR) system.
Having reached a commitment to work closely together, the NCCMA posted a message on Facebook unleashing the antihunting trolls.
“Why not partner with actual conservationists who want to create a haven for waterbirds and support naturebased ecotourism?” was a question posed by a Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS) advocate amid the vitriol.
FGA has no issue with ecotourism: we love wetlands and encourage everyone to enjoy them, but tourism is not conservation, it is visitation.
Conservation, as we have learned over nearly 60 years, takes commitment, time and boots on the ground.
Tower Hill, the first SGR, was replanted based on a landscape painting; it took years and the dedication of local groups, including Field & Game.
The Heart Morass near Sale would still be a degraded grazing property if not for the efforts of FGA and its charitable Wetlands Environmental Taskforce in partnership with the Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation, Bug Blitz Trust, Watermark Inc. and the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.
The Heart Morass project has taken a decade and many thousands of volunteer hours; it is a commitment far beyond the capability of the self-proclaimed ‘real conservationists’ trolling social media.
We are yet to see CADS or Animals Australia and their volunteers commit to anything more than invading wetlands on the opening weekend of duck season.
Hunters are users of wetland and they harvest game birds for food. Hunters have always balanced the equation through active conservation, pest animal control, and nesting support for waterfowl.
The Memorandum of Understanding with the NCCMA is another measure of our commitment to conservation and healthy wetlands.