Cull of corellas on the cards, but is there another way?

The Moyne Shire’s fervent desire to cull corellas because of the damage they are causing to playing fields and ornamental trees appears to be one of necessity.

It is also not new.

Corellas have been culled for various reasons at various times around Australia as their prolific numbers mean their conservation rating is “secure”. They are a noisy mob, with breeding pairs thought to mate for life. Very large numbers of mating pairs flock together and they eat grass and seeds and need to drink every day.

Together, and particularly in times of drought, they can devastate valuable pasture and cause serious and expensive damage to community facilities.

In large numbers, they become pests. Much like kangaroos in various parts of Australia, where tens of thousands need to be culled not just for the sake of farmers, but also to ensure the health of the fragile, arid ecosystems they inhabit.

For a region that relies on agribusiness and tourism, when and if corellas become a problem, the obvious answer is to cull them. Either by gassing or shooting them.

This is clearly seen as an economic necessity.

However, what is clear – and again drought periods in particular have shown this to be true – is that corella numbers are increasing as humans continue to clear land for agriculture and improve irrigation infrastructure.

We have inadvertently created the perfect environment for the corella. In short, lots of grass and water. In fact, we have created the perfect environment for an explosion in the numbers of corellas.

Even more unfortunately, the rise in numbers of the dominant species of corellas is thought to have been assisted by the release of pet corellas into the wild.

So is there another way?

Similar to the recent debate over horses on beaches, what price do we put on environment versus economy? If we are happy to allow commercial trainers to exercise their horses on beaches and sand dunes that are the envy of the world, then is there even a price on the head of a corella?

The reality of life is about providing for our families.

But these most human of all desires can lead to long-term regrets.

Perhaps we will not regret the corella.

But we will certainly regret decisions that lack vision or consideration of alternatives.