Hospital Admissions of Australian Coastal Raptors Show Fishing Equipment Entanglement is an Important Threat

Victoria K. Thomson, Darryl Jones, James McBroom, Amanda Lilleyman, Michael Pyne

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Coastal raptors in urban landscapes face multiple threats. Australia's coastal raptors (Osprey [Pandion haliaetus cristatus], White-bellied Sea-Eagle [Haliaeetus leucogaster], Brahminy Kite [Haliastur indus], and Whistling Kite [Haliastur sphenurus]) are all found in the urban region of South East Queensland/northern New South Wales, and have varying sensitivities to urbanization. To assess some of the effects of urbanization on these species on Australia's mid-east coast, we reviewed Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation admissions data from July 1998 to February 2020. Overall, more birds were admitted because of anthropogenic causes than natural causes, and the hospital had high treatment success, with most patients surviving their injuries to be released to the wild. The most significant identifiable impact was fishing equipment entanglement, accounting for 21% of raptors for which we could determine the cause of admission, followed by bird attack (20%), and vehicle strike (19%). To our knowledge, this is the first assessment to show fishing activities to be a significant cause of injury for coastal raptors. Understanding the causes of injury and mortality to these birds, including especially anthropogenic causes, is critically important for species management and conservation. As recreational fishing is a popular practice in this region, it is important to continue to provide education about the threats fishing can cause, and disposal bins for fishing tackle in popular fishing areas to reduce the number of coastal raptors affected.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)414-423
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Raptor Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2020


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