'Cruel and disgusting': Disturbing act behind photo of dead birds

Nick Whigham
·Assistant News Editor
·2-min read

An investigation into a disturbing scene of dozens of native Australian birds found dead has concluded the animals died from being poisoned.

The Conservation Regulator in Victoria has been investigating the incident after as many as 100 Little Corellas were found scattered on the ground in the small town of Robinvale in the state’s northwest.

The confronting scene was discovered on December 1, with authorities now revealing the birds suffered from Methomyl poisoning.

“Little Corellas were observed falling from trees and dying on the ground,” Crime Stoppers Victoria said.

Dead birds on the grass.
The killing of native birds carries a hefty fine and possible jail time. Source: Conservation Regulator

“Investigations have revealed the birds were poisoned with Methomyl – an active ingredient found in various insecticides,” the state Conservation Regulator said on Wednesday.

Methomyl is a carbamate insecticide used to control foliage and soil-borne insect pests on a variety of food and feed crops. It is highly toxic to humans, livestock, pets, and wildlife.

According to Agriculture Victoria, Methomyl is considered a Schedule 7 poison and its off-label use requires a permit from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Association.

Authorities are urging anybody with information about the suspected poisonings to come forward.

“The Conservation Regulator is continuing its investigation," it told Yahoo News Australia. 

Under the Wildlife Act 1975 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, people can see hefty fines and jail time for harming native birds.

Deliberately killing native birds carries a penalty of up to $39,652 and/or six to 24 months' imprisonment.

Social media users outraged by ‘absolutely disgusting behaviour’

One social media user labelled it a “horrible sight” while another described it as “cruel and disgusting”.

A third fumed at the thought the birds were intentionally killed: “Absolutely disgusting behaviour. Should be significant fines if found for each bird,” they wrote.

Others speculated the birds could have been feeding on nearby crops which had been sprayed with insecticide.

However the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, which houses the state’s Conservation Regulator, believes it is unlikely the cause of death in this instance was from nearby crops being sprayed with insecticide.

In the days following the incident a report was received of a dog showing signs of sickness after having a Little Corella carcass in its mouth.

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