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Childers crocodiles devouring pests one bird at a time

LUNCH TIME: Zoo keeper Sue McLinden feeding Macca at Snakes Down Under. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
LUNCH TIME: Zoo keeper Sue McLinden feeding Macca at Snakes Down Under. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

CROCODILES are playing an important part, while getting a free feed, in helping eradicate pests in the Bundaberg region.

Snakes Downunder and Reptile Park owner Ian Jenkins said up to 30 indian myna birds were given to the park each week as part of Bundaberg Regional Council plan to wipe out the pest species.

He said the birds were than euthanised humanly and included in the diet for two of the salt water crocodiles, Macca and Alice, at the Childers reptile centre.

"These birds are an introduced species and were originally introduced in Victoria to help with insect pests," Mr Jenkins said.

"They have now crept up to Queensland where they are quite an aggressive bird which pushes out the native miners.

"We gas them here at the park with carbon monoxide before freezing them for around a week to kill any parasites before feeding them to the crocs."

The council's indian myna bird awareness and trapping program has been in place since 2009 and is an ongoing program.

A council spokesperson said a $2 bounty was offered for each live indian myna bird captured and this would continue until the bird numbers were no longer problematic.

"Due to the high numbers of the indian myna bird found right across our region, we rely on community involvement to control their numbers," they said.

"Thanks to the assistance of a number of residents, particularly in the Childers area, Indian Myna birds are regularly being captured."

Mr Jenkins said the traps were effective in capturing only the pest bird as it would use a caller bird which only attracts other indian mynas.

RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty the organisation did not have an issue with the program as long as it was performed in a controlled manner.

People interested in participating in the program can contact the council's land protection officers, who will supply a cage trap and offer assistance with its setup and use, on 1300 883 699.

Topics:  crocodiles indian myna pests snakes downunder


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