Corella poisoning: Survivors released

COCKBURN rescue centre WA Wildlife has released 11 out of almost 40 poisoned little corellas found at a Beeliar oval mid-February.  

The centre’s director Dean Huxley said the other corellas soon succumbed to the poison or had to be euthanised, a decision based on whether their organs were failing or the birds being unable to stand or lift their head. 

“That also reinforces sometimes the need to euthanise early on based on their symptoms, if there’s a really low chance of rehabilitation for release,” he said.  

Mr Huxley says the released corellas have grouped with local birds.  

“To date, we haven’t had any more birds brought in with poisoning so we’re hoping that they’ve all linked up and they’re all healthy,” he said.  

Mr Huxley is worried the corellas might return to the oval regardless of where they’re released, as they can travel long distances and tend to gravitate back to regular feeding sources.

They also couldn’t be taken farther afield as they’re a controlled species and can only be released where they were found.

Mr Huxley says the wildlife hospital is unsure whether the corellas were deliberately poisoned, but he’s concerned other animals might be at risk.   

Banned insecticide

“We don’t know where the poison has come from [or] if it was put out in a food source, which meant other animals could quite easily be eating the poison as well. That could include dogs [or] cats,” he said.   

But so far only the corellas have been brought in so the centre doesn’t know the full environmental impact.

“It’s probably more likely that it was where these corellas were feeding, that’s where they were picking up the poison. It could be nearby or kilometres away, we just don’t know,” he said.  

An autopsy showed signs of fenthion toxicity, meaning they ingested an insecticide banned since 2015 due to health and environmental risks. 

Although they are considered a noisy, destructive pest species in some parts of WA, Mr Huxley says the hospital does not advocate people culling animals themselves and advises them to call wildlife groups if they are concerned about disturbances or danger animals might cause.  

“Euthanasia should always be done by people who are trained to do so and should also be done humanely, and poisoning an animal is not humane,” he said.   

Mr Huxley says if someone sees a poisoned bird, they can call WA Wildlife for advice or bring it to the centre, especially if help will take a while to arrive.  

“They can put it in a box and bring it to us themselves or to a nearby vet clinic. We don’t want people getting hurt around these animals so we always advocate for you to wear gloves and use a thick towel, especially with parrots and larger birds that can bite,” he said.   

by ELIZABETH TAN

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