When Victorians think of wildlife in peril they probably don’t think of ducks, but Wildlife Victoria reports it took 2,247 requests for assistance last year from people seeking help for orphaned, sick or injured native ducks – a 23 per cent increase on the previous year.
As a result of reports from the public, Wildlife Victoria helped 6,826 ducks in 2020 – around 18 ducks per day.
CEO of Wildlife Victoria, Lisa Palma, said ducks are an important part of our native ecosystems in Victoria and – like other more prominent species – they get into tricky or dangerous situations and need help from humans.
“At Wildlife Victoria our expert wildlife rescuers help all sorts of native animals, including our precious ducks. We want people to know that they are special creatures that deserve our appreciation and care, just like other native species,” said Ms Palma.
“For this reason, Wildlife Victoria has joined Discover Ducks, a campaign launched by RSPCA Victoria and Birdlife Australia in November 2020. The campaign fits with Wildlife Victoria’s vision to create a community that understands, values and cares about Australian wildlife.”
Outdoor education charity Outward Bound has also joined the campaign, which aims to introduce Victorians to different species of native duck and encourage them to spot them in their local area and further afield at wetlands across the state.
CEO of Outward Bound, Loren Miller, said “we were surprised by research indicating that one in five Victorians can’t name a single species of native duck*.”
“Outward Bound empowers people to discover, develop and achieve their full potential through nature-based activities – we believe an appreciation and empathy for nature and native wildlife is a vital part of that, so we’re very pleased to be supporting Discover Ducks.”
CEO of RSPCA Victoria, Dr Liz Walker, says the Discover Ducks campaign will continue to gain momentum as more people develop an appreciation for all the different types of native ducks.
“Ducks really are quite unique animals. There are 15 native species in Australia, all with different looks, personalities, and behaviours. For example, Australian Wood Ducks are very family-oriented and bond with their mate for life. They really are delightful and every duck species has its own story to tell.” says Dr Walker.
“We’ve just added three new ducks to the Discover Ducks website, including the Musk Duck, which is particularly unique. The males have an eye-catching lobe of skin beneath their beaks that they use to attract females by puffing it out in an extravagant display. It’s quite fun to spot ducks when you’re out and about and be able to identify what type they are.”
The Discover Ducks website teaches Victorians all about the most common and interesting ducks living in their neighbourhood. With a “Duck Detector” map, fact sheets, guides and quizzes, the website encourages the people to explore wetlands, creeks and waterways to see, take photos and appreciate the ducks that call Victoria home.