Ducks - man-made debris/micro-plastics in duck faeces

​Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment

Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 27 January.

Applicant: University of Tasmania

Species/Taxon: Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea), Grey Teal (Anas gracilis), Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides), Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata)

Locations: Tamar Island Wetlands (reserved land), Moulting Lagoon (reserved and private land), Launceston (private land), Devonport (private land), Orielton Lagoon (private and crown land), Derwent River foreshore (crown land).

Title of research: Environmental pollutants in Tasmanian and Victorian Waterfowl Faeces

Aim of project: To investigate if waterfowl are ingesting man-made debris, such as micro plastics, using non-invasive methods

Justification: Sample collection may be conducted on reserve land in areas where ducks congregate in large numbers on the foreshore where their droppings can be accessed. The development of non-lethal and non-invasive methods to monitor and study wildlife is ethical, important for long term conservation, will help to further our understanding of wildlife health and human impacts on wildlife without harming living wildlife.

Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: Hundreds

Activities undertaken and methods: Observation of live birds and collection of faeces. Monospecific groups of ducks will be observed from afar for 30-45 minutes, then approached slowly enough to allow birds to move without flushing, so that faeces can be collected from the ground of the roosting spot. Effort will be taken to walk along established paths, walkways, and clear edges of wetlands, rather than across or through dense vegetation or other sensitive habitats to minimize disturbance. Fieldwork will be conducted after the nesting season for most species, but if nests or young are observed those areas will be avoided (Feb-July). Permission to access habitat from land owners and managers will be sought prior to the start of fieldwork, and consultation with site managers will be conducted to establish access plans and best practices to keep impacts minimal and ensure safe practices.

Fate of animals: No live animals will be caught, trapped, handled, or moved. All will remain in the habitat unmolested.

Likely impact on species involved: There will be only a mild disturbance to target and non-target species in the habitat, and no negative impact.


Scientific Research Permits
Natural Values Conservation Branch
134 Macquarie Street
Hobart TAS 7000

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