Rare visitors threatened by waste


Rare native birds have been sighted in the Spring Creek Estuary and conservation groups are calling on the community to assist in their protection.

Great Egrets and the Caspian Terns, both on the Victorian Government’s advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, have recently been sighted feeding in the Spring Creek Estuary.

The Great Egret has been spotted at the Spring Creek Estuary recently
The species are both vulnerable to the hazards of plastic waste, which is estimated to kill up to one million sea birds, one hundred thousand sea mammals and countless fish each year.

Sean Dooley, Editor of Wingspan Magazine said the feeding habits of wetland birds made them especially vulnerable to being caught in discarded fishing line.

“Discarded fishing line is a threat to these species as they feed in estuaries which are popular fishing spots and often fishing line gets caught around their beaks and necks and suffocates them,” he said.

 “Discarded fishing line is a threat to these species as they feed in estuaries which are popular fishing spots and often fishing line gets caught around their beaks and necks and suffocates them.”

Graeme Stockton from local conservation group Surfers Appreciating Natural Environment said species like the Great Egret and Caspian Tern were facing extremely strong competition from people and development pressure.

“These species are unnecessarily stressed by storm water pollution and littering,” he said.

Nevertheless, Mr Stockton is optimistic. He notes how the local community ‘stood up for Spring Creek’. “I think there is an inherent understanding by most people here of nature’s overlapping role in our own wellbeing.”

“The Great Egret and the Caspian Tern areren’t commonly found in the Surf Coast area so it’s important that people understand how lucky we are to have such rare birds come and visit us, it’s a privilege that they choose to   use Spring Creek as part of their home range.

“The Great Egret and the Caspian Tern aren’t commonly found in the Surf Coast area so it’s important that people understand how lucky we are to have such rare birds come and visit us, it’s a privilege that they choose to use Spring Creek as part of their home range,” he said.

Caspian Terns have also been sighted in the Spring Creek area.

ZOO’s Victoria’s new ‘Seal the Loop’ campaign will see  special bins placed at ports and piers around Victoria’s coastline to help facilitate the responsible disposal of fishing waste by recreational anglers.

Ben Sanders, Zoo’s Victoria Community Conservation Officer said the campaign aimed to reduce marine wildlife entanglement rates and raise awareness of the threats that plastics pose to marine wildlife.

“The bins are being offered free of charge to any organisation, council or group who wish to install them, this phase of the program is being funded by the Victorian Government using recreational fishing license fees,” he said.

Coastal users can look out for ‘Seal the Loop’ bins placed at various popular fishing spots along the foreshore by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC).

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times fortnightly ‘Green the Coast Column’. To visit the Surf Coast Times website click here.

To learn more about the Seal the Loop campaign  click here, for more information about native birds visit the Birds Australia website, click here. If you would like to learn more about coastal conservation and local marine life visit our website, http://www.gorcc.com.au/.

Have you spotted any endangered native birds in the Surf Coast region lately?

Are you  involved in protecting native wildlife?

We’d love to hear from you!

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