An investigation by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has confirmed the death of numerous Galahs in Western NSW were caused by mouse bait poisoning.
Bird experts continue to raise the alarm about the distribution of mass quantities of toxic poison used to combat the current plague devastating parts of regional and rural NSW.
BirdLife Australia, the Difficult Research Bird Group from the Australian National University and researchers at Edith Cowan University have called for regulators to prevent the distribution of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGAR) in mass quantities, as part of the NSW Government’s mouse plague response.
The NSW Government has responded to the mouse crisis with its $50 million package that includes the distribution of 10,000 litres of bromadiolone, an SGAR that is highly toxic to all wildlife. The request is currently under consideration by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority, the independent statutory body responsible for assessing and registering agricultural and veterinary chemicals.
“Scenes of piles of dead Galahs are heart-breaking, but even more concerning is the prospect that these poisons could push a endangered bird species closer to extinction,” BirdLife Australia Urban Birds Program Manager, Holly Parsons said.
Dr Robert Davis from Edith Cowan University says experts were already concerned about the impact of these chemicals on birds of prey, but this is the first reported case of a direct impact on seed-eating birds.
“These birds don’t feed on mice, they must have ingested the poison directly from laced grain,
“This could have implications for species that haven’t been considered before like the Superb Parrot, a threatened species with less than 8000 individuals left, which is known to feed on spilled grain”, said Dr David.
“We know that farmers and communities need support right now to control the plague, but we should be using first-generation rodenticides or alternative chemicals such as zinc phosphide, which doesn’t have the same impact to wildlife,” Dr Holly Parsons said.
The EPA is warning people not to touch sick or dead wildlife and to report more than five dead animals of the same species to their 24-hour hotline on 131 555.
Those concerned about the potential use of bromadiolone by the NSW government can join the BirdLife Australia petition at: https://www.actforbirds.org/ratpoison.