REACTION

The uncontrolled, unmonitored slaughter of protected Adelaide and Yellow Rosellas and Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets by commercial fruit growers in South Australia was first allowed by the then South Australian Minister for Environment, Dorothy Kotz for a period of 1 year from the 26th of May 1999. The current Minister for Environment Iain Evans has allowed the slaughter to continue for the Adelaide Rosellas and the Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets.
This action is now receiving world wide publicity.

Wine growers have responded to the criticism

The article below is reproduced with the permission of The Advertiser newspaper. (The Advertiser: www.news.com.au)


The Advertiser, Tuesday March 13th 2001, page 5
We are not bird killers, say wine growers

By Environment Reporter
CATHERINE HOCKLEY

  ADELAIDE Hills vignerons deny they are to blame for mass shootings of native birds.
  The SA Wine and Brandy Industry Association, which represents grape growers, agrees native bird culls happen in horticultural industries, such as apple, pear and cherry growing in the Hills.
  But it said "there was little evidence of it happening in the state's wine grape vineyards".
  Hills' vignerons have felt unfairly targeted by a threatened Internet campaign to promote a boycott of their wines because of bird culling.
  The threat came from international bird groups responding to National Parks and Wildlife Service estimates 45,000 lorikeets and rosellas were culled in the Adelaide Hills and Riverland in 1999-2000.
  This had followed the State Government invoking an Act scrapping the need for a native bird shooting permit.
  The association's chief executive, Linda Bowes, said yesterday damage to grape crops was caused by introduced bird species, such as starlings, sparrows and blackbirds.
   "Native species such as musk lorikeets and rainbow lorikeets . . . are generally not major
pests in our vineyards," she said.
   "Although the SA Government has decided to drop the need for a permit to shoot certain species of native birds, we don't believe there is a need for grape growers to shoot them."
  Apple and Pear Growers Association of SA general manager Trevor Ranford said the vignerons' defence was "probably a fair comment".
   "Certainly some native species, such as the lorikeets, have been a bigger problem for apple and pear growers in the Hills," he said.
   But Mr Ranford also disputed the cull figures saying they were gathered from a survey of a little more than 200 growers and then "extrapolated".
  "It's not truly representative," he said. "That's why we believe there needs to be more research on bird numbers and what the problem is for our industries."
   " Ms Bowes said more of the Hills' grape growers were moving to alternatives such as netting their vines to protect crops from birds.
  Adelaide Hills' Nepenthe Wines has covered its most vulnerable vines with the polyethylene netting for the past two seasons.
  Viticulturist Murray Leake said yesterday netting was a long term solution to controlling bird damage. "The pressure

UNDER WRAPS: Murray Leake of Nepenthe Wines, left, and net importer Peter Treloar examine protected vines near Charleston in the Adelaide Hills yesterday. Above left, a rainbow lorikeet. Picture: BRETT HARTWIG

from birds has been bad in the past couple of years, although this year it has improved," Mr Leake said.
   "You'd get to about two weeks before picking a crop and the vines would be stripped by birds - mostly starlings and crows.
   "Now we're netting varieties about five to six weeks before picking and it's very effective."
  " SA netting importer Peter Treloar, of Crop Safe, said an increasing number of Hills vignerons were moving to netting, at a cost of about $3700 a hectare, for premium crops.
   "Vignerons are saying no nets, no crop," he said.
  Ms Bowes said that for other vineyards, the combination of gas guns, kites and some shooting was necessary.
   "Viticulturists very rarely use shooting as a component of their bird management program and then only in conjunction with bird scaring devices such as gas guns," she said.
 

Return to Conservation Issues pageReturn to Conservation Issues