Rivervale ibis plague a problem


Ibis in flight above a Toorak Road house.
Ibis in flight above a Toorak Road house.

A RAFT of Rivervale residents are irate about ibis.

“On my morning walk, I was talking (other residents) about crime issues, and they wanted to know what council could do about ibis,” Rivervale Community Association organiser Roger Broinowski said.

“The community really can’t stand them anymore.”

Toorak Road resident Barbara Smilek said the birds have been hanging around the street for about three years, and she sometimes sees upwards of 20 ibis a day near her house.

“They’re big, they need lots of food and they’re starving,” she said.

“Something has to be done, there’s too many of them.”

Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) said while the number of Australian white ibis are anecdotally increasing in the metropolitan area, it is unknown if their numbers have increased overall.

Mr Broinowski said the residents’ concerns include damage to their houses, potential diseases carried by the birds and proximity of the ibis area to flight paths at Perth Airport.

DPaW said while ibis are one of many species that can carry a range of pathogens transmissible to humans, there have not been any recorded cases of a human contracting a disease directly from an ibis, and said Perth Airport has a bird mitigation management plan in place for aircraft safety.

“Ibis play an important role in natural pest management as they prey on small insects and grubs, often flocking together in areas affected by plagues of locusts and other insects,” DPaW said.

“However, in urban areas ibis scavenge for food and often congregate around rubbish tips and city parks.”

Nearby Tomato Lake in Kewdale is an ideal location for the birds to breed and feed due to the variety of food sources, and any grassed areas are attractive to ibis, particularly during and after mowing.

The issue of ibis has been raised twice with the City of Belmont over the last few months.

“The ibis are native to WA and as such are protected. However, they do cause nuisance problems with noise, smell, fouling and nutrients associated with their droppings,” Belmont chief executive Stuart Cole said.

In regards to controlling the ibis population, Mr Cole said the City discourages feeding wildlife and regularly removes litter from parks.

“Unfortunately, there is no effective method of control that can be implemented at Tomato Lake, while ensuring public safety,” he said.

“Due to the large distances that ibis travel, the issue extends throughout the Perth metropolitan region.”

The City and DPaW advise locals not to feed ibis or leave scraps lying around, and ensure bid lids are kept closed.

MORE: Stepping Out of the Shadows: campaign aims to raise $1m for Lifeline WA

MORE: 24-hour treadmill run at Danny Green’s gym to help prevent suicide

MORE: Local government proposing plan to cut landfill