Bunbury corella cull likely to continue

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Hundreds of corellas flock together.
Camera IconHundreds of corellas flock together. Credit: Supplied / Adam Poulsen

It has taken a licensed pest controller just 15 days to trap and kill nearly 700 corellas in Bunbury and surrounding suburbs.

Bunbury City Council’s corella cull has been such a success, it looks likely to continue.

The staggering numbers have been revealed in an update to the council after it supported an Introduced Corella Management Strategy last year when flocks of the nuisance birds were causing havoc and damage to infrastructure across the city.

Since the council decided to take action, a contractor has undertaken 15 days of “control works” resulting in the culling of 688 corellas, a report has revealed.

While the council initially supported the “destruction” of 400 of the birds for the 2018-19 financial year and the same amount for 2019-20, a higher figure of 688 trapped and killed so far has been labelled as a “pretty good outcome” by Mayor Gary Brennan.

“We rely on the licensed contractor to trap the birds then humanely cull them ... it’s however they manage it and it’s for them to use their expertise in trying to trap the birds,” Mr Brennan said.

“They also rely on notifications from the community on where the birds are flocking.

“I think that number — if we get around close to 700, maybe a bit over 700, that’s a pretty good outcome.”

The report to the council said that in light of the council’s desire to cull 400 birds, it could be concluded the program was a success.

The report said that without ongoing control it was anticipated the corella population would continue to increase.

The council has $21,600 in this year’s budget to continue the culling program — a figure the council has been told works out to $46 per corella.

Questions were raised during the council’s briefing session this week as to whether any financial benefits of the cull had been calculated.

Council staff took the questions on notice, but Mr Brennan told the South Western Times that anecdotal evidence proved it was working.

“I haven’t had it reported to me, but I understand anecdotally there has been a significant reduction in damage,” Mr Brennan said.

“From the city’s point of view, that includes electrical systems and lighting within our central area.

“I know that some property owners have invested heavily in replacing a lot of the rubber mouldings around external windows, so hopefully they would have noticed a benefit as well.

“The birds are still there but not in as many numbers as previously.

“I think as I say, anecdotally, there’s been terrific benefit, but to put some science behind it our staff need to go through our city-owned property reports.”

Mr Brennan said the program had been a collaborative approach between the Bunbury City Council and the surrounding shires along with the Southern Ports Authority.

“Everybody’s working together to try and reduce the pests that have caused a lot of damage to buildings in our city over the past few years,” he said.

The council is next week set to accept the outcomes of the cull and its continuation.

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