An investigation is underway after 11 birds were found dead on a Queensland beach, following what authorities believe may have been a deliberate attack.
Mike Devery, a compliance officer from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) found 11 dead crested terns and two which were injured on Ocean Beach on Bribie Island.
The discovery was made on May 5, south of third lagoon on the beach.
In a DES statement, Mr Devery revealed how rangers believe the birds were killed.
“Rangers believe the birds were deliberately targeted by a person who was speeding in a four-wheel-drive, and basically lined them up and mowed them down,” Mr Devery said.
He said the two birds which were found injured have since been euthanised and now is appealing for the public's help to identify the person who mowed the birds down.
“We want to hear from anyone who saw a vehicle leaving the beach or in the vicinity of Bribie Island on the morning of May 5 with white or black feathers stuck in the grill or bonnet," he said.
“Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, the penalty for deliberately harming or killing this number of crested terns is a significant fine and or imprisonment.
“The department is encouraging people to call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) and they can provide any information they have anonymously.”
Stern reminder about terns at beach
Crested Terns are found in coastal areas in Australia and Mr Devery said there was a substantial population on Bribie Island.
DES said crested terns form flocks along coastal areas throughout Queensland and they mainly feast on small fish.
The birds breed between October to December and eggs are placed in shallow scrapes in the group — both male and females incubate the eggs.
Mr Devery said people are advised to stay away from all wildlife on the island's beaches, adding that the Bribie Island Recreation Area is patrolled daily by rangers.
To drive on Bribie Island's beaches, people need a Vehicle Access Permit and speed limits apply on all beaches in Queensland.
“Driving on Bribie Island’s beaches is a popular recreational activity, and to protect the beach’s social amenity and natural values, all road rules and other driving restrictions apply," Mr Devery said.
“People who drive on vegetated dunes and disturb shore birds and other species, such as turtles, risk an on-the-spot fine of $266.”
Members of the public can report inappropriate behaviour by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or the Queensland Police Service, DES said in the statement.
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