A confronting picture showing a flock of dead galahs apparently killed by rodent poison has sparked debate about the tragic but unintended consequences of efforts to control the mouse plague ravaging parts of regional eastern Australia.
A Reddit user posted the disturbing photo on Monday of a flock of more than 50 dead galahs, plus one of a sole survivor and two they were trying to nurse back to health.
He had been enjoying a bush walk when he came across the horrific site, right next to wear the birds usually hung out, who had apparently killed by chemicals laid to stop mice.
Concerns have already been raised that the ‘napalm-like’ chemical can hurt many native animals, including endangered fish.
This confronting image of a flock of over 50 dead galahs was shared to Reddit (pictured) with the birds apparently killed by chemicals used to battle the mouse plague
The walker shared a sad but hopeful image of her efforts to save a surviving trio of galahs she says were poisoned
There was one healthy survivor after the flock of galahs were apparently killed by poison
The location of the photo posted to Reddit was not identified, but thread was titled: ‘This is the reality of using baited grain to kill mice. Bait the mice, not our native animals.’
The user claimed to have been caring for ‘poisoned galahs for quite a while now’, but spotted the ‘beautiful flock’ of dead galahs who usually lived around a local cemetery.
‘This has utterly broken me,’ the user wrote.
‘This is just a devastating situation all around. Sick and completely heartbroken.’
‘I agree with killing mice, but not spreading the poisoned grain, if this is being done?’
Fierce debate raged in the Reddit thread over what to do about the mouse plague – which has devastated agriculture across southern Queensland and central New South Wales and terrorized regional communities for nearly a year – but also the harms done in efforts to halt it.
Similar posts have appeared in Facebook groups focused on native animals.
Farmers have collected scores of rodents across Australia (pictured above) who have been causing havoc with stock. Pictured is the plague in Dubbo in central-west NSW
The extent of Australia’s revolting mouse plague is shown in this alarming new map by the CSIRO (pictured)
The government has secured 5000 litres of the super-deadly rodent poison bromadiolone – offering to provide it for free once federal authorities approve its use
In the group Australian Wildlife, one concerned member posted, ‘In the past week, I have counted four dead galahs and about 10 pigeons.’
‘Their bodies have no apparent injuries. I am wondering if the dead birds ate the mouse bait that is being dropped in this area?’
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority issued a statement confirming it has issued five emergency permits for the use of a poison that is considered ‘napalm’ to rodents, bromadiolone.
The New South Wales government sought urgent approval in May for the use of bromadiolone, the strongest bait available.
‘It’ll be the equivalent of napalming mice across rural NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall told the ABC when a $50million rescue package for affected communities was announced.
That claim angered aquafarmers and environmentalists particularly concerned about the effect on the Murray Cod – which is officially endangered.
‘If this poison is put out into the environment you might as well be directly poisoning threatened and vulnerable species like Murray cod, which is a vulnerable species under federal legislation,’ Mel Gray, from Healthy Rivers Dubbo said.
According to the National Pesticides Information Centre, bromadiolone causes animals that consume it a slow and painful death over several days, during which they ‘bleed to death’.
It is highly toxic to fish, birds and mammals – including dogs.
A Cootamundra farmer also posted about the dangers of the poison to domestic pets.
‘Just thought I’d put it out there that everyone should be paying attention to there dogs cats and poultry for bait poisoning, we had to take our dog to the vet today(fingers crossed we caught her early enough) with bromadiolone poisoning,’ he wrote.
People can report a program around the use of agricultural chemicals via APVMA’s Adverse Reporting Experience Program.
Penalties for improper use of agricultural chemicals are administered at state and territory level.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Wires and the The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for comment.