Introduced Rainbow Lorikeets are threatening Tasmanian Fruit Growers

The Lorikeet isn’t native to Tasmania or Western Australia

Rainbow Lorikeets: you know them, you’ve heard their squeaky high pitched squeal, and you’ve seen their beautiful rainbow feathers, but did you know they aren’t native to Tasmania and Western Australia?

The Rainbow Lorikeet’s numbers have exploded after being introduced to Tasmania and Western Australia. So much so, they’re now becoming a pest for both Western Australian and Tasmanian fruit growers.

Dr Dejan Stojanovik from the Australian National University College of Medicine, Biology and Environment explains:

Rainbow lorikeets in Perth went from a very small population to a very large population, and in fact they're one of the most common birds in Perth these days, they're spilling over into adjacent fruit growing regions where not only do they compete with the local wildlife but they also have a really major impact on fruit, particularly grapes

Introduced Rainbow Lorikeets are threatening Tasmanian Fruit GrowersImage: Rainbow Lorikeet, Flikr: mdalmuld

A study undertaken with GPS tracking in Tasmania discovered that the rainbow Lorikeet could travel four to five kilometres from their nest to acquire food which consists of pollen, nectar and of course, their favourite:  fruit. Now that winter has arrived, there is a real fear that the birds will travel even further in search of food, establishing new permanent populations.

"As an Australian bird, they're already kind of pre-adapted to this landscape so it's going to be a potential risk for this population spilling over into adjacent suitable farmland habitat and moving further into areas where they shouldn't be."

According to Dr Stojanovik, the best course of action is eradication as it’s still in the early stages of population.

You've got to act fast on a small population before it gets out of control because once they're established that's it, there's no getting rid of them

Header: National Geographic 

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