Orchardists forced to shoot birds

Orchardists forced to shoot birds

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Raeburn Orchards owner Peter Casotti with some of the damaged fruit. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

Orchardists in Roleystone and Karragullen are at their wits end with declared pests, with one saying that if the lorikeets weren’t eradicated soon, it wouldn’t be financially viable moving forward. 

Raeburn Orchards part owner Peter Casotti said they have been forced to bring in volunteer shooters to help lower the numbers of lorikeets, which are plaguing their harvests. 

“They have been around here for about eight to 10 years in small numbers and only for a short period of time however this is the worst I have seen it,” he said. 

“There isn’t a variety of fruit that they don’t go for… plums, pears, peaches, nectarines and apples they go for them all.” 

Mr Casotti said he also shoots with his brother whenever they have time but shooting was only a band-aid solution. 

“The first lot of shooters that came in, in a couple of hours they shot over 400,” he said. 

“They shot 1000 in a day at another orchard in Karragullen but they just keep coming. 

“However the problem needs to be solved at the source and that is down in the city, at Cottesloe, the airport, South Street and Armadale Railway Station.” 

Mr Casotti said while netting his two Roleystone orchards would be an option it wouldn’t be financially viable to do so. 

“Netting would cost between $45,000 and $50,000 a hectare and with the average price of fruit at the $3 a kilo mark and sometimes even less we would just barely break even,” he said. 

“This has the potential to put us out of business because it is not viable to keep going like this. 

“It would be cheaper to dump it and get rid of it altogether.” 

Mr Casotti said he has brought the issue to the attention of City of Armadale councillor Grant Nixon and will be meeting with premier Mark McGowan and agricultural minister Alannah MacTiernan next week. 

“I don’t think they will be able to eradicate them, it is unlikely because they have let it go for too long,” he said. 

“We approached the government a few years ago and they said people think the lorikeets are pretty, but now people are complaining because they crap all over their yards and they are very noisy.”