"Tracey Austin" <>
Fri, 20 Apr 2001 08:27:20 -0000
The following message was posted today on the ABC Federal Election Forum and
is being circulated widely in Australia as a conservation policy issue for
the coming federal election. There are calls for a public enquiry into
cannon netting and I thought it may interest some of you!
The posted message is:
A practice known as cannon netting is used by researchers to catch birds for
banding studies, particularly migratory birds such as waders that roost in
flocks. A recent study into cannon netting has shown that a mortality rate
of 4% is common and that additionally, large numbers of birds are critically
injured during the firing process where individuals near the edge of the
nets are literally blown apart and decapitation, mutilation and internal
injury is a common result.
Furthermore, a culture of gilding the lily has developed amongst some of the
researchers who intentionally distort results and hide the damage done from
cannon netting because they believe it is an effective method to catch birds
and that the means justifies the end result. These same persons also tend
to overplay the importance of the information gathered using this process
when they say that without their information, conservation strategies to
protect migratory birds would not be developed.
An added concern is that a competitive interest between banding teams has
resulted in the development of an obsessive approach to catching and banding
large numbers of birds, often within protected sanctuary areas just to
satisfy target quotas.
The facts are that although banding birds has been a useful tool used in the
past for obtaining information about migration, in most circumstances today,
technology such as radar tracking, and coordinated bird observing using
larger numbers of skilled field observers across the world equipped with
excellent field guides and modern powerful optics, video scopes and even
night vision glasses and communicating in real time using computers and the
internet can provide all the results needed for bird conservation without
the damaging impacts caused by banding and cannon netting birds. Cannon
netting must be stopped before it is too late, because some of these
research groups are now targeting rare and endangered migratory waders such
as Knots, Godwits and other types of Sandpipers, many of which are prone to
die simply from the stress of being handled.
If you are interested to learn more about this most destructive process,
have a look at the hidden debate that has been raging about cannon netting
in the Birding-aus web site archive! I am of no doubt that bird banding
and cannon netting should be banned and I hope that one day soon the ABC
will carry out a public investigation into this most destructive process
which is killing many of our rare birds in the name of conservation.
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