Stop the cull of the Potts Point cockatoos!

Terrible news – I just learned that some of my neighbours up the road would like to cull the fabulous sulphur-crested cockatoos (thanks My Darling Darlinghurst blog) that squark and terrorise the inner east of Sydney – Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Elizabeth Bay. How dreadful!

I love the cockatoos – they’re like a bunch of juvenile delinquents that look you cheekily in the eye as they peer into your home. I love the sound of the clomping claws on our aluminium window sill. The cockatoos were here when I moved to Sydney in 2000 and seem generally loved by people in the neighbourhood. Except those in the heritage buildings at the top of Greenknowe Ave, Elizabeth Bay – Tara and Kingsclere. See the Central Courier story and the SMH story.

The SMH reports that:

RESIDENTS have tried everything to get rid of them: flashing lights, rubber snakes, spikes on sills, mirrors on windows, chilli oil on woodwork, even lying in wait with hoses or water pistols. But the sulphur-crested cockatoos of Potts Point, which have caused more than $40,000 in damage to one building alone, are absolutely incorrigible, say infuriated residents, whose plan for a cull is stuck in bureaucratic limbo.

Many of the homes affected are in heritage-listed, art-deco buildings, with wooden windowframes eaten through by the birds. At Kingsclere, a 1912 building on Macleay Street, cockatoos have destroyed slate roof tiles, causing them to drop seven storeys to the street.

The birds have also caused damage to Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay apartment buildings Werrington, Ikon, Villard, Byron Hall, Tara and the Devere Hotel, where a neon sign fell after cockatoo sabotage.

Frustrated Kingsclere residents have applied to the National Parks and Wildlife Service for a licence to kill cockatoos. Asked how many birds would need to be culled to fix the problem, Kingsclere resident David Crompton said: ”I don’t know. But it seems the same five or six keep coming.”

He conceded that more birds may return after a cull, but said it would at least halt the damage for a while. National Parks officers confirmed the damage and the public risk it posed, leaving residents optimistic of a solution.

But the City of Sydney objected to a cull and suggested a trial of a shocktrack system, a non-lethal deterrent used successfully at Cook + Phillip Pool and Woolloomooloo wharves.

Is it impossible to adapt the units to the marauding cockatoos? Do we go about killing animals because they’re inconvenient to us? This seems incredibly selfish. Culling the cockatoos should only be a last resort.

Here was a petition (now closed) against the cull to be sent to the NSW Environment Minister & Director NSW National Parks & Wildlife. Email the Environment Minister to save the cockatoos!

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