Last month, almost 50 corellas fell dead from the sky at a park in Western Victoria. This occurrence led to numerous speculation and theories surrounding the cause of death but authorities have a strong feeling that the birds could have died because they ingested illegal mice baits. According to Glenn Smith, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning wildlife officer, there was no good reason why the birds died since they were perfectly healthy. The fact that they died in that number at the same time and probably from the same flock is a clear indication of poisoning.
The department fears that illegally produced mice bait could be the cause of death. Although autopsy reports are yet to be released, there is every indication of poisoning as the cause of death. But authorities are not taking any chances. “The test will determine what the real cause of the death was but we cannot rule out illegal mice baiting at this stage,” Mr Smith said.
Availability of the Mice Bait Ingredients
According to released reports, mice bait availability and accessibility is very high. Unlike before when Grains Producer Australia (GPA) controlled and facilitated the shipment of the raw products, farmers can access the baits easily. According to Andrew Weidemann, the GPA southern region chairman, the availability of bait is no longer an issue. “The manufacturers are provided with ample product to mix and supply the product to farmers,” he added. However, he confirmed that he has heard of illegal baiting practices occurring in Victoria.
Mice Bait Demand Skyrockets
The demand of mice bait has skyrocketed in the recent months. The strong demand has been generated by mice numbers reaching plague proportions in parts of the country. This is something that has authorities worried. At this level of mice infestation, some of the baiting may cause the death of native wildlife, in particular birds such as galahs, corellas, rosellas and sulphur-crested cockatoos. “A plague is probably what we are dealing with,” Mr Smith said. “Not only that, we also have concerns over people putting their pets and livestock at risk as well,” he added.
According to Agriculture Victoria, the increased number of mice in the state’s north-west had resulted in skyrocketing demand for all types of mouse bait as farmers attempt to protect their crops from destruction. Alex Perera, a leading chemical officer, said that the high demand made it tempting for farmers to resort to homemade mice baits. “This could have devastating results such as what we are experiencing now,” he added.
According to Mr Perera, products that are registered for mouse control are taken through rigorous assessment by scientists at the (PVMA) Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authorities). They are formulated to limit the impact on non-target animals such as birds and pets. He noted that homemade baits are not assessed and that’s why they are extremely dangerous to non-target animals. “Although we expect the autopsy result in a few days, we advise farmers to desist from using illegal mice baiting to minimise damages,” said Mr Smith. We at PCNB agree about not using any kind of illegal pest control chemicals.