Award Winning Wildlife Carer Summonsed To Appear In Court For Helping Wildlife

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5th November 2010, 08:30am - Views: 3871


Media Release                                                                                                      Friday 5 November 2010


        Award winning wildlife carer summonsed to appear in court for helping wildlife.


An award winning wildlife carer has been summonsed to appear in court for helping wildlife by the same

government department which presented her with the award.


Native wildlife carer Galena Debney will today face the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after receiving a

summons from the Department of Sustainability and Environment for being on the wetlands to rescue

wounded waterbirds on the opening morning of the 2010 duck shooting season.


In February this year Ms Debney received an award from the Department of Sustainability and

Environment for over 20 years service of caring for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.


Campaign Director of the Coalition Against Duck Shooting, Laurie Levy today said: “Galena Debney is

being prosecuted for doing the very thing for which she received the award - caring for wildlife.


“This case exposes a conflict of interest for the Department’s wildlife officers.  Should they be protecting

native waterbirds or acting as gamekeepers, helping duck hunters to shoot native waterbirds?  


“On the one hand, wildlife officers oversee duck hunting seasons called by the government but at the

same time they issue wildlife carers with permits and special grants to care for injured wildlife, including

wounded waterbirds.”


“The Brumby government announced last month that licensed wildlife carers will receive a total of

$350,000 in grants and funding for training new wildlife carers.  At the time (in a media release dated

October 29, 2010), Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings said the government

recognised this “extremely valuable work” and wanted to help these “unsung heroes who volunteer their

time and money to care for sick and injured wildlife”.

“Now Environment Minister Gavin Jennings is prosecuting one of his unsung heroes,” concluded Laurie



Ms Debney today said: “My conscience wouldn't allow me to stand by and let these waterbirds suffer, as

so many sustain horrific and painful injuries.  It can take months of rehabilitation before the lucky ones are

returned to the wild. If helping waterbirds means I have to face the courts, then so be it."

"The Brumby government has failed to recognise that 87% of Victorians want duck hunting banned.  A

tiny number of Victorians kill native waterbirds for fun and it's high time it stopped," Ms Debney said.  


“Victoria has an enviable history of progressive reform in conservation and I can’t believe that we're

lagging so far behind WA, NSW and Queensland in banning the recreational shooting of native

waterbirds," Ms Debney concluded.


For further information, please contact:

Galena Debney,  (Home)  03 53 487 576  Mobile: 0432 763 367

Laurie Levy, Campaign Director, Mobile: 0418 392 826    

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