Modified wheelie bins are the latest tool a Western Australian council is using in its war against native birds it deems to be “pests”.
Over 1000 corellas have been caught and euthanised by Rockingham Council, south of Perth, who say avian numbers have “increased exponentially”.
As a result, they allege “significant environmental damage”, "public health issues” and “habitat pressure” on other birdlife are impacting the region.
Use of the bins began this year as part of the $8000 a year culling program which has operated since 2014.
Seed is placed in a gap between the wheels to lure the birds, and they are then caught and euthanised, using a government approved design.
Council said they employ contractors approved by the state department of environment (DBCA) to kill the birds
Wildlife carer quits due to ‘stress’ over corella culls
While City of Rockingham Mayor Deb Hamblin says council has received “multiple complaints over many years” about the birds’ presence, many residents believe the program is “cruel”.
Wildlife rescuer Shelley Vokes, 48, who has been an outspoken critic of the corella culls, told Yahoo News Australia the “stress” of the situation has led her to stop volunteering.
“I quit. I’m not doing this anymore,” she said.
“They’ve lost a volunteer rescuer, because there's no way I'm going to keep looking after these birds, and then let them go for this council to kill them.”
Council says non-lethal deterrents not an option
The program has claimed the lives of 1038 little corella which are originally from eastern Australia and 58 long-billed corella which are which are indigenous to the region.
Council did not respond directly to questions about when the program was last reviewed or when it last sought advice about non-lethal control methods.
“The City has researched, investigated and put in place non-lethal methods. However, non-lethal methods have only ever provided very short term effectiveness,” Mayor Hamblin said.
“Irri-tape (a visual bird deterrent) was found to have some effect but after a few days the birds became accustomed to it and essentially ignored it.”
The author, Michael Dahlstrom, has previously volunteered as a wildlife rescuer.
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