Wendy Tomkins of Rockhampton visits the city zoo recently. Wendy was bitten by what were thought to be bird lice during her visit.
Wendy Tomkins of Rockhampton visits the city zoo recently. Wendy was bitten by what were thought to be bird lice during her visit. File Image

Birds, lice tipped for long term

IT COULD take up to three years to fully resolve the native bird problems at Rockhampton’s Botanic Gardens and zoo, council says.

Following a meeting last week between Rockhampton Regional Council staff, consultants from the company employed to manage the number of wild ibises at the zoo and Queensland Parks and Wildlife officers, the council issued a statement saying management of the native bird problem would be a two to three-year process.

The zoo has come under the spotlight after a woman complained about being bitten by lice during a visit earlier this month.

The lice problem is associated with three large colonies of ibises, cattle egrets and cormorants, which have set up camp nearby after this year’s floods.

While the council pays up to $100,000 a year to contractor Ecosure to help with the management of the ibis situation, wildlife protection laws limit the management of the other migratory birds.

“Managing these native bird species will be a two to three-years process due to the fact we are dealing with migratory birds,” the council’s most-recent statement said.

The statement said though an initial meeting had taken place, a strategy was yet to be developed.

It said the council had received one complaint in regard to suspected bird lice.

“The Botanic Gardens and Rockhampton Zoo is a popular attraction for residents and visitors and experiences high visitor numbers during the school holiday periods, including Easter,” the statement said.

Responding to questions about monthly visitor numbers, the council said: “Due to the wet weather visitor numbers have decreased slightly.

“Feedback on the ground level from visitors is very positive.”



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