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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
&
Member for Leichhardt
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources
The Hon Warren Entsch MP

6 July 2005

Indian Myna bird trial in Cairns


Found in almost every garden up and down the east coast of Australia playing havoc with native wildlife, the Common Indian Myna bird's days may be numbered thanks to a new trial in Cairns to reduce the numbers of the introduced pest.

Funded by the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust, the $130,000 trial was announced today by Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell and Member for Leichhardt, Mr Warren Entsch.

Senator Campbell said the project, to be undertaken by Australian National University researcher Dr Chris Tidemann with support from Cairns City Council and the Australian Rainforest Foundation, could have national long-term benefits in the control of Mynas and other invasive pest birds.

"Dr Tidemann has developed a possible means that could result in the Indian Myna being trapped effectively and humanely. This has implications for controlling the spread of other invasive pests, like the closely related European Starling," Senator Campbell said.

"The Indian Myna has devastating effects on native wildlife. They take over nesting hollows, destroy eggs and chicks, and stop native birds like rosellas and kookaburras from breeding. They are capable of evicting even large birds, such as Dollar Birds, from their nests. And groups of them have been known to mob small mammals like possums.

"Dr Tidemann's work is encouraging and the project could have potentially far-reaching results.

"This strategic investment should have broader implications in helping to control the problem of pest species in Australia."

Mr Entsch said there was strong community support for the project.

"Many conservation and environment groups have expressed support for reducing myna numbers, including Birds Australia and Birds Queensland," Mr Entsch said.

"In the year 2000 Common Indian Mynas were the most commonly recorded feral bird in Canberra. At the same time, the Common Indian Myna was listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world's 100 worst invasive species.

"The Indian Myna is becoming a bigger problem in eastern Australia, with evidence indicating that north of the ACT the Common Indian Mynas are spreading into habitat occupied by the threatened Superb Parrot.

"So this project has national, long-term benefits and we all look forward to seeing it get underway."

For more information about the Natural Heritage Trust visit www.nht.gov.au

Media contacts:
Senator Campbell Marianne McCabe (02) 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580
Mr Entsch Sarah Massey (07) 4051 2220

Commonwealth of Australia