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Problems caused by the Australian White Ibis

Ian Temby, Flora and Fauna Branch
June, 2003

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Harassing picnickers, scavenging at rubbish tips and from rubbish bins and scattering rubbish. Competing with captive animals at wildlife parks for food. Nesting in inappropriate places.

The Australian White Ibis is a widespread native species which has demonstrated considerable behavioural flexibility in exploiting new sources of food such as rubbish tips. It is adept at snatching sandwiches from people at some picnic areas, while still feeding at more traditional sites such as tidal flats and on grasslands where it is no doubt of great benefit to land holders. Like all native wildlife, the Australian White Ibis is protected in Victoria under the Wildlife Act 1975.

Relocation of surplus ibis from Healesville Sanctuary to Sale demonstrated the homing ability of this species as some of the relocated birds had returned to Healesville Sanctuary within a very few days of being released. Movements of Victorian-banded ibis have been recorded as far as New Guinea, so relocation is likely to be of little benefit.

  • Prevent access to food in rubbish bins by modifying their design or by ensuring that a lid is attached and used.
  • Change tipping practices so that access to food at rubbish tips is denied.
  • Modify food containers at wildlife parks so that ibis do not have access, or change feeding times so that ibis cannot compete for food with the animals on exhibit.
  • Do not feed ibis at picnic areas, or elsewhere. Place your food scraps in rubbish bins or take them home with you.

The advice provided in this publication is intended as a source of information only. Always read the label before using any of the products mentioned. The State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication.

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