‘We should drug the ibis and drive them out west’
DRUG the Gold Coast's ibis population and drive them out west to Charleville.
That was the bold plan put forward by long-serving councillor Dawn Crichlow 15 years ago.
The Southport councillor began her war on the Ibis in 1994 after one of the birds was sucked into the engine of a plan flying over Currumbin Hill, causing more than $1 million of damage.
In the year 2000, the council "declared war" on the ibis population and planned to hire abattoir workers to eliminate the birds.
At the time Cr Crichlow called the ibis "Horrible little smelly creatures that steal food from people."
In 2002, wedge-tailed eagles were used to scare away colonies of ibis.
Later the same year, Cr Crichlow volunteered her three grandchildren to cull the ibis with their spud guns, saying it would be a cheap exercise as they were great shots.
In 2004, the council hired someone to roam the Coast and shoot coloured water at ibis, in a bizarre attempt to better manage the scavengers.
By 2005, the self-confessed opponent of the "bin chicken", vowed to find a way of getting rid of them.
And she had the backing of Charleville's own mayor.
At the time, Cr Crichlow was in the middle of her seventh term in power and decided she had finally had enough of the birds, which she considered a pest.
"We just need to drug them with some seed, a bit of tucker, and then send them out west on a road train, back to where they came from. ''It's called logic,'' she told a council meeting that year.
"They are disease-ridden, horrible creatures.''
She said the Coast's ibis population had reached plague proportions of 'about 70,000'.
''It's got to the stage where a child can't enjoy food in the park without being bothered by the ibis,'' she said.
''They have become much too domesticated.''
Charleville Mayor Mark O'Brien backed Cr Crichlow.
''We've got to share this great continent with lots of creatures, including the ibis," he said.
''Charleville is becoming a very well known place for conservation and concern about flora and fauna because of our Save the Bilby fund.
''The ibis are all right, I think they're even a protected species.
''We'd look after them. I'm sure Ron (Mayor Ron Clarke) and I could have discussions.''
According to a Bulletin report that year, the city's ibis population had increased significantly, despite multiple attempts by both Cr Crichlow and council staff to clamp down on numbers.
The Charleville plan never went ahead.
But fast forward to 2017 and Cr Crichlow, who in the intervening years had campaigned for the elimination of the Coast's bat population, had come up with another solution.
She suggested feeding the nuisance birds "minced meat with cayenne pepper in it".
By that year the bird population had been slashed to just 2500 through council disrupting their breeding environments.
Her spicy advice came a day after the Gold Coast Bulletin revealed a group of Surfers Paradise eateries were hiring "bird shoo-ers" to stop pesky ibis and pigeons from fighting diners for their food.