This article provides information about management of rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) to reduce the damage they often cause in southern Western Australia. It also documents the steps being taken by the Western Australian Government to facilitate management of the lorikeet problem and what members of the public and fruit growers can do.
Why manage rainbow lorikeets?
In Perth, rainbow lorikeets cause a variety of problems including:
- damage to backyard fruit crops
- fouling of outdoor areas and vehicles with droppings
- competition with other species for food and nest sites
- in the Swan Valley, lorikeets cause damage to commercial table and wine grape crops
- damage fruit in orchards in the Perth hills
- they are carriers of Psittacine beak and feather disease and pose a potential disease risk to wild and captive parrots.
What is the legal status of lorikeets?
Under legislation administered by the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), rainbow lorikeets in the south-west land division are the subject of an Acclimatised Fauna Notice, which recognises that lorikeets are native birds living in the wild as a result of being released, escaping or being the offspring of released or escaped birds. The notice also states that lorikeets can be shot on private land in the south-west land division, without the need for a Damage Licence from DPaW. The notice requires that no damage is to be caused to trees, and traps can only be used by persons licenced to do so under DPaW legislation.
Under legislation administered by the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA), rainbow lorikeets are declared pests in Western Australia, in all areas south of the Kimberley including the Perth metropolitan area. This means that private, municipal and state government landholders are responsible for control of lorikeets on their land.
In the southern parts of the State where lorikeets are declared as pests and do not naturally occur in the wild, no lorikeets, including those captured or rescued, can be legally released back into the wild. Wild lorikeets generally do not make good pets and can spread disease.
All lorikeet management activities must comply with the Animal Welfare Act 2002, which requires that pest animals are handled and killed humanely. Only competent persons should undertake control activities, all other persons should seek veterinary or other expert assistance.