On Mon, 28 Apr 1997 07:33:07 +0200 Tony Archer <> wrote:
>Hi to all the Aussie Birdnetters
>Our TV station has a very popular nature programme called 50/50. Some time
>ago it had an insert on Australians Parrots. On the programme they had
>what appeared to be fairly old footage of people throwing nets over
>Cockatoos and then killing them by stamping them with heavy poles.
>Last night's programme once again showed something similar. I
>unfortunately missed the first part but I imagine the person objecting to
>the situation was someone named John. HE also had large numbers of the
>dead birds that he had displayed outside some Government building to show
>his objection to what was happening.
>If anyone knows of this I would like to know the following:
>Is the killing still an on-going thing? And if so are the birds such an
>enormous problem that they have to be killed this way?
>Does anyone have the name of the name of the person who was mentioned as
>leader of this objection?
>We also have problems birds in South Africa - noticeably the Redbilled
>Quelea - which are killed by exploding petrol in the reedbeds they roost in
>or by poison which of course kills indiscriminately. But there are
>literally millions of them which look like a moving cloud when the flocks
>take to the air. They have to be controlled as they consume large
>quantities of grain. But I would like to know if the birds in Australia
>really occur in such large numbers. Could they not in time become
It sounds as though the footage you saw may relate to a campaign orchestrated
by a licensed bird trapper called Ray Ackroyd, who trapped Long-billed
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Galahs for the domestic market, during the early
1980s. He used nets to trap the birds, and lobbied vigorously to enable their
export, arguing that exporting pest birds would resolve the problems they cause
to farmers (and line his pockets). In one of his more extreme acts, he is
to have clubbed Galahs (and other species?) to death on the steps of Parliament
House in Sydney, to draw attention to his claim that export was the humane way
to deal with such pests! It is also alleged that he released Long-billed
captured in western Victoria, in Sydney, thus initiating a population of this
species outside its normal range.
Several species of cockatoos do cause some damage to a variety of crops, but
destruction of the birds is seldom the best or most cost effective way of
controlling the problem. It does provide psychological 'relief' and is widely
practised. In Victoria, trapping with nets and then gassing of Long-billed
Corellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Galahs is permitted as a way of
mitigating crop damage, although it has not been demonstrated that removal of
birds by this means has any impact on damage levels.
Destruction of trapped birds by 'stamping them with heavy poles' has never been
a legal method in Victoria, or, to my knowledge, anywhere in Australia.
Similarly, poisoning of cockatoos is not legal in Victoria, but it still
In spite of destruction of Long-billed Corellas, they remain abundant within
restricted distribution, and their range is expanding. I suspect that the
destruction of these birds is too sporadic and on too small a scale to have an
impact on their populations in the long term. The Galah and the
Cockatoo are much more widespread and are common through much of their
ranges. Of greater concern than destruction of these birds by farmers is the
continuing loss of large old hollow-bearing trees used for nesting.
Hope this helps.
Wildlife Damage Control Officer
Secretary, BIRDS Australia Parrot Association
Flora and Fauna Branch
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
4/250 Victoria Parade
EAST MELBOURNE VIC 3002
Phone 613 9412 4429
Fax 613 9412 4586