Don’t Grant Licenses to Kill Against Magpies

Target: Penny Sharpe, New South Wales Minister for the Environment

Goal: Support catch-and-release programs over culls for managing magpie populations.

When a choice exists between removing a so-called problem species by lethal or non-lethal means, the go-to choice too often results in mass casualties. Take the Pacific Northwest’s barrel owl, for example. This supposed invasive species was indicted as one of two primary causes for the native northern spotted owl’s dwindling numbers (habitat loss being the other—and likely primary—driving force). Rather than address and attempt to rectify the pressing problem of rampant deforestation, the federal government has instead decided to cull about half a million barrel owls in the coming years. A similar fate could await one of Australia’s most beloved avian species: the magpie.

Magpies are popular birds on the continent, but they can get aggressive when their habitat is under threat, particularly during mating season. Catch-and-release programs, in which magpies are safely relocated to other areas, have been proven as an effective method to lessen hostile interactions between the birds and humans. But instead of investing in these programs, Australia’s leaders have opted to hand out, in large numbers, licenses to kill the birds. One incident in particular sparked public outrage, after a magpie’s shooting led to the orphaning of a brood of baby magpies.

While some parts of Australia have adopted conservation policies put forth by advocates, others have chosen to ignore the non-lethal recommendations. Sign the petition below to demand an end to the needless slaughtering of an Australian staple.


Dear Minister Sharpe,

Magpie populations have decreased in your region by about one-third. Conservationists blame this steep decline on the permitted killing of problem magpies. These conservationists stress the success of non-lethal catch-and-release programs…programs they claim are being denied in New South Wales in favor of continued kill permits.

Please follow the example of Queensland and adopt a policy that will protect and preserve one of Australia’s most iconic and beloved species.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: JJ Harrison

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