Falklands : JURY OUT ON FALKLANDS' RAPTOR SHOOTING
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 10.07.2010 (Article Archived on 24.07.2010)
A lively presentation and discussion about RAPTOR shooting took place on Thursday morning at the annual Farmers’ Week meetings in the Town Hall.
JURY OUT ON RAPTOR SHOOTING
By J. Brock (FINN)
A lively presentation and discussion about RAPTOR shooting took place on Thursday morning at the annual Farmers’ Week meetings in the Town Hall. Nick Rendell gave a brief presentation about what kinds of birds caused the most predation problems for farmers.
The main thrust of the talk dealt with Turkey Vultures but it covered Coranchos, Giant Petrels, and Johnny Rooks as well.
The conservation policy is that executive Council and Environmental Planning approval must be sought before a permit to shoot can be granted and this process takes approximately six weeks from request to permission. The Executive Council approval usually takes a month, with approval taking a week at the Environmental Planning Department.
Mr Rendell said that the Environmental Committee was looking at streamlining the application forms and asking more relevant questions targeting the bolder birds.
Farmers and other members of the public commented that in some areas – especially on Sea Lion Island, where Jenny Luxton reports that there were no sheep that there appeared to be too many Turkey vultures finding other sources of food; and something should be done about them.
Lewis Clifton said that Turkey Vultures usually are lone hunters but he has seen packs of them (6 or 8 birds) going after full grown chicks. He also mentioned that they are brazen in Stanley where they hide in the trees and attack pet lambs, removing their eyes and tongues.
Paul Robertson asked whether there are known reasons for behavioural shifts in many of the predatory birds that are indigenous to the area. It is understood there is impact on sheep and there and a field worker was in place during lambing, making some observations including:
- The birds normally take cast sheep or those who are about to go down.
- They also take the afterbirth and still born lambs
The observer recommended that once lambing is complete either the sheep are moved from the lambing paddocks or that carcasses and afterbirth are removed. Compared with other reasons for lamb mortality, bird predation is well down the list behind the weather, ditches, and mal nutrition.
Farmers who answered a questionnaire said that they would shoot predatory birds if they were attacking the sheep.