CORELLAS have been causing havoc in the Shire of Merredin, with reports saying there has been more than $20,000 in damage to government property alone.
The Shire has reported that more than $7000 worth of CCTV cabling around the town has been destroyed, and it cost the Shire $1500 in the past year to replace all of the town flags that have been destroyed.
Corellas have chewed holes in the soft fall facility at the recreation centre playground, which Merredin Shire chief executive officer Lisa Clack said had cost them $1000 in repairs, and the whole surface would need to be replaced soon.
Telstra has reported to the Shire that their dish was destroyed by corellas, which is about $10,000 in damage.
There have also been reports of corellas chewing through tarps at the CBH Merredin site, according to Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management (NRM) chief executive officer Dr Karl O'Callaghan
"Once there is a good big hole in the top, then water can get into the grain and it destroys the grain and makes it rot, of course," Dr O'Callaghan said.
"So they're really concerned about the problem because those tarps are worth a lot of money - they're enormous tarps."
A CBH spokesperson said the damage caused by corellas was an "unfortunate reality of country life".
"Naturally, birds are attracted to any water or feed source, including our grain receival sites, and CBH is working with government and industry to implement strategies to deter corellas and minimise the damage they can cause," they said.
The Shire said there was excessive debris and destruction of their green spaces and roads resulting in an increased demand on the town maintenance crew.
They have also received reported damage to homes, farming land, and other sporting grounds within our town, subsequently causing an increased economic impact on the respective industries and individuals.
"Shires are spending tens of thousands of dollars on mitigation - repairing damage to cabling, lighting, communications, infrastructure, artificial turf, but some of them are just tearing their hair out about the cost to the ratepayer of the damage they cause," Dr O'Callaghan said.
Not only are corellas causing significant damage to playing services and infrastructure, they are also causing widespread environmental destruction - especially to trees that are important habits for other species including endangered black cockatoos.
Ms Clack said she understood the ecological importance of corellas, but people must also consider the environmental and economic impact of their current population, and their overwhelming impact on the habitat of local vulnerable bird species - like the red-tailed
"Although reducing the numbers of native animals is never an easy decision, in the case of corellas, it has been a necessary decision to protect our community infrastructure and reduce the extensive damage," Ms Clack said.
"By conducting a carefully planned and monitored management program, we can help maintain a healthy population, while practically minimising the harm caused by their excessive numbers."
In June 2022, the Shire of Merredin implemented a Corella Management Program due to an excessive number of birds sighted in town.
The new management program included a multi-pronged humane approach, including limiting food, sacrificial feeding areas, dummy birds of prey, non-lethal gas cannon, and population control through trapping and euthanising the birds.
The Shire said the new Corella Management Program is ongoing and will run year-round on an as needed basis.
Wheatbelt NRM is currently working with many different shires across the Wheatbelt, including Merredin, to help reduce the impact of corellas on communities.
Dr O'Callaghan believes there needs to be a longer term, wider-spread plan for corellas, focusing around how to mitigate roosting sites throughout the entire Wheatbelt.
Wheatbelt Shires, CBH and Wheatbelt NRM have started working together, with Dr O'Callaghan hoping for more shires to jump onboard.
"We need to come up with a plan that has several layers to it - obviously there'll be some immediate action to try and manage the population and some long term actions," he said.
"Part of it is also educating the community that culling, as unpleasant as they are, have to happen if we were to preserve our native species, and also have to happen if we were going to manage the damage.
"We also probably need to fund some more research into some of the best ways of controlling corellas, and no doubt at some stage we will design an app where people can report movements and populations, but that's a little bit further down the track."
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