Call for corella cull as birds cause chaos

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

City of Bunbury officers want to kill as many corellas as possible as the pest birds continue to wreak havoc on the city causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Suggestions put to Bunbury City Council this week include hiring a shooter or buying firearms and training rangers to shoot to kill as part of calls to take more aggressive action.

The suggestions were made in a briefing session this week as the council looks to endorse an Introduced Corella Management Strategy.

Sustainability, planning and development manager Thor Farnworth told the council the strategy’s prime focus was a bird cull.

“We are attempting to manage the population and that’s not a euphemism, we’re looking to reduce the population through the culling of birds,” Mr Farnworth said.

“We’re doing everything we can to shape the birds away from sensitive areas, into areas we can isolate them, habituate them into being fed and then killing as many as we can.”

The council has received at least 40 formal complaints from residents who say the nuisance birds have caused stress due to sleepless nights and damage to their properties costing hundreds of dollars to repair.

According to a council report, infrastructure damage across the city due to the birds’ chewing behaviour and fouling is costing more than $20,000 annually but the figure is expected to be significantly higher after adding damage to private properties.

Cr Monique Warnock told the council one local business had been quoted $30,000 to paint and repair corella damage, while the Bunbury Port last year lost $200,000 after the birds chewed through cabling on cranes and cut power to the site.

Cr Sam Morris labelled the issue an “ecological disaster that’s slowly encompassing” the city.

Cr James Hayward suggested a more aggressive approach needed to be taken.

“We could perhaps find out whether there is capacity for us to hire a feral shooter to come and take some more aggressive action with these corellas,” Cr Hayward said.

“I understand a contractor may be a bit difficult to find . . . I’m wondering whether we can have some information about what training costs are involved in purchasing any firearms that might be required or any equipment for our rangers to be able to fulfil that role if that was something council chose.”

The council will make a decision on the strategy next week when it is expected to also request chief executive officer Mal Osborne to write to the State Government to express the “concern and disappointment” at its lack of action and the “cost shift” to local government.

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