Dawn’s weapon to rid Coast of ibis
DAWN Crichlow has a simple answer to the city's ibis crisis - dose them up on chilli.
The veteran city councillor said she used the secret weapon to rid the Gold Coast of the feathered pest in the late 1990s, and it was time to do it again.
She suggested feeding the nuisance birds "minced meat with cayenne pepper in it".
Council, in partnership with the State, has reduced the ibis population numbers (Gold Coast and Tweed) from 12,500 in 1998 to 2500 today.
This was done through disturbing their breeding environment, without physically injuring any birds.
Cr Crichlow said State Government gave council a permit to take the eggs and "smash them".
"They robbed the nests," she said.
"They (ibis) disappeared but they are now coming back.
Her spicy advice comes after the Gold Coast Bulletin revealed a group of Surfers Paradise eateries were hiring "bird shoo-ers" to stop pesky ibis and pigeons from fighting diners for their food.
"They won't go back," Cr Crichlow said.
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital's Dr Michael Pyne said ibis, which could carry diseases such as salmonella, learnt quickly where to find food and their behaviour in the cafes was habitual.
"They learn and adapt very quickly, they are not frightened (easily)," he said.
Dr Pyne said he rated ibis "very highly" as they were "intelligent and confident" birds.
A council spokesman told the Gold Coast Bulletin they felt for the cafe owners but the responsibility to keep them away from diners was their responsibility.
"Council cannot remove the birds from the precinct," the spokesman said.
"Importantly, even if we did, ibis fly up to 20km daily from the hinterland to Surfers Paradise as they know there are food scraps left on dining tables,.
"To physically relocate the 20 problem birds would only see them return within a day or so.
"So it is not a simple matter of relocating nuisance birds.
"Council has ensured its public bins have lids and we do our daily bin collections pre-dawn seven days a week."
A Department of Environment and Heritage Protection spokeswoman said Bulletin said while EHP did not relocate ibis, there were licensed bird relocators who could capture and relocate the birds in circumstances where it can be shown that their presence was a threat to human health and wellbeing or is causing financial loss.
"Taking or killing ibis without a permit is against the law, with penalties of up to $126,150 or one year imprisonment for an individual," the spokeswoman said.
Surfers Paradise Beach Cafe owner Arthur de Snoo said he was pleased the issue had been made public in the Gold Coast Bulletin.
"Hopefully it will prompt them (council) to do something more," he said.