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Proposed pigeon cull called off

NEWS RELEASE 6 November 2008

Proposed pigeon cull called off

Wellington City Council has decided not to proceed with a proposed cull of the city's pigeon population.

Councillor Celia Wade-Brown, the Council's Environment Portfolio Leader, says she is delighted at the decision. "Q
uite a few people were upset by the proposal, and Council staff have also decided that the significant cost of an ongoing culling operation - and the prospect that it would not effectively reduce pigeon numbers - means it's not worthwhile. The best answer is for people to stop feeding them."

"Council officers have taken expert advice on various options for pigeon control and have found no method would be effective without costing a lot of money."

The Council's City Services Director, Derek Fry, says due to the highly mobile nature of pigeons, control at a specific site is not an option and a city-wide approach is required. "One of the key challenges is the number of roosting and feeding sites scattered through the city. Each site is unique and a different method of control would be required for each. During our research into the proposed cull, no one site has been identified as being of sufficient size to make a significant difference to the pigeon population, and any control would have to be ongoing."

Council staff have mapped all known pigeon roosting and feeding sites so they now have a baseline against which to measure any future population growth.

An ongoing city-wide cull - or non-lethal population-control measures - would cost up to $100,000 a year. "That's a lot of money, especially considering the current economic situation. We don't think the scale of the problem requires that level of spending," Mr Fry says.

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Non-lethal control would require significant investment - for example purpose-built and accessible lofts, pigeon-proofing buildings, removing eggs and maintaining feeding sites.

The Council has been looking at how to reduce pigeon numbers since late last year when a big increase in the pigeon population, especially in Midland Park, prompted complaints from outdoor diners and park users in the area.

Mr Fry says the Council will continue to urge people not to feed pigeons or leave food scraps about.


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