The NSW government has allowed building owners to shoot and kill Cockatoos by giving them culling permits.
The Potts Point building owners accused the native birds of eating their property and applied to the state government in July for permission to kill the birds.
The building owners tried various means of deterring the birds such as soaking window sills in chilli oil then once given the green light, they hired a registered pest controller to eliminate the Cockatoos.
Head of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Sally Barnes said a licence to harm or kill any animal or bird is only issued in exceptional circumstances and as a last resort.
“The NPWS has been working with the building owners and the City of Sydney Council over the last 12 months to explore all the options available to stop the birds, including using bird spikes on the window ledges, rubber snakes, flashing lights and noise,” she said.
Infuriated residents of the building have spent more than $40,000 on repairing damages.
Resident Lisa Harrison sent a petition of over 450 signatures to the NSW Government and said the decision is unethical and ineffective. “I believe this is more a case of the building’s negligence over time than damage by birds.”
“Culls don’t actually work. This is a scientific fact,” she said. “More birds are likely to take the place of any that are killed.”
Ms Harrison questioned how the damage could get so out of hand.
City of Sydney had been working with NPWS to come up with more humane methods of dealing with the destruction the native birds are causing.
Solutions included the implementation of a shock-track system along window sills. These were quickly dismissed by the building owners because of the expense and the impact to the heritage of the building.
Greens Councillor Irene Doutney said quotes from ANC Bird Control predicted this would cost $260 per window.
City of Sydney introduced a free trial for the shock trap but this was rejected since ANC Bird Control deemed it an inappropriate course of action.
Strata manager of Strata Plus, Luke Derwent informed the Council that shock tape was not a viable solution. “The advice which the Owners Corporation has received is that shock tape is not an appropriate means of addressing the problem faced by this building,” he wrote in a letter.
Cr Doutney is furious the permits have been given and said the building owners wanted the birds killed from the beginning.
“[It’s a] totally irresponsible way to solve the problem, we should be working together to save our heritage and our wildlife,” she said.
Bird expert, Dion Hobcroft said he recognised the ethical dilemma for NPWS.
“They wouldn’t be issuing these permits lightly, they must have exhausted all their other options,” he said.
“It does seem drastic; however these birds aren’t endangered so it won’t have a detrimental effect on the environment”.
Bird vet Ross Perry said a cull is inhumane and only a short term option.
“I personally think it is an act of ignorance. If they manage the cockatoos differently then they’ll find a long term solution, it is setting a poor example to the community and to future generations.”