Where are all the ibis?
  • Thursday 08 October 2015

Sunshine Coast Council is calling on your help to survey ibis populations across the region.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said a nationwide count of white ibis was taking place on Sunday, October 11, and it was important for the local community to submit their sightings.

“The Australian white ibis is a protected native species that plays an important role in their natural wetland habitat. However, population growth in urban areas, thought to be assisted by access to waste landfills and some food at parks, has caused ibis to be perceived as a ‘pest’,” Cr McKay said.

“The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, with the assistance of the Ibis Management Coordination Group (IMCG), is collecting data for ibis sightings in all Australian states and territories.

“The IMCG was formed in South East Queensland to find non-destructive and ethical ways to manage unnaturally abundant ibis populations which started causing problems in our coastal towns and cities.

“The group consists of state environment departments, local councils, private organisations, airline corporations, airports and conservation groups.

“This 2015 survey will be the six consecutive large-scale urban census of ibis and will be part of the 32nd consecutive year that NSW University’s Professor Richard Kingsford has flown large tracts of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria to count waterbirds, including ibis.

“Professor Kingsford’s survey has recorded far fewer ibis in recent years compared to data from the 1980s.”

Cr McKay said the collection of local data would assist council in its monitoring and management of ibis populations on the Sunshine Coast.

“The management at sites on the Sunshine Coast is vital to maintain the delicate balance between the long-term survival of this native Australian species and effective mitigation of the negative impacts associated with unnaturally abundant ibis, including public nuisance, potential disease risk to humans and risk to aircraft safety,” she said.

You can help by looking for ibis on  October 11 and reporting sightings at  http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/surveys/WhiteIbisSurvey.htm.