Outrigger on the Lagoon -Fiji has had recent success in curbing its Indian Mynah bird problem thanks to the efforts of the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc (CIMAG).
In 2013, guests Nick and Jane Hall whilst holidaying at the Outrigger on the Lagoon ∙ Fiji, relayed their affiliation to the CIMAG during a conversation with Resort General Manager Peter Hopgood about the mynah bird problem at the property. Mr. Hall offered to assist the resort with plans on how to construct traps to capture the menacing birds.
Nick provided the engineering team at the resort with plans and instructions on how to build the Mynah traps.
Peter Hopgood the General Manager of the resort offered the staff a reward of $1,000.00 FJD to any staff who was able to build and capture the mynah birds. Resort GM Hopgood promised all materials would be supplied and all the staff were required to do was build a trap and successfully catch some mynah birds.
With all the excitement for the lucrative prize money, two traps were built and were placed at the resort’s rubbish collection center where the mynah birds regularly feast. The engineering team believed the money was theirs, however after two weeks not one bird was captured. Disappointment set in and the interest dropped. The score was settled at Mynah birds One – Fiji Zero.
Due to the lack of success with the resort engineering team, Mr. Hopgood invited Nick and Jane Hall to return to Fiji to assist the team to build the traps and to catch these pests.
In late January, Nick Hall and his family arrived at the resort with one collapsible trap as the prototype, with all the necessary materials pre ordered to conduct his work. With the family settled in and enjoying the resort activities, Nick got to work instructing the resorts engineering team on how to construct the traps.
Some of the engineering staff were skeptical of the traps, stating they had previously built similar contraptions earlier which were unsuccessful.
Not to be deterred, Nick Hall and the engineers built four traps that were then carefully placed around the resort using fresh tropical Fijian fruit as bait in the hope of enticing the first pair of illusive mynah birds. Day one results proved futile. On day two the critters ate all the fruit and still managed to elude the traps. Worry set in for Nick as he continuously monitored the traps without success. He was not sure as to how to move forward and it did not help with the few snide remarks coming from the engineering team, alleging the big white hunter travelling all the way from Canberra Australia was yet to catch anything.
On day 3, Nick was determined to show these mynah birds who was boss. After two sleepless nights Nick received some great information from his wife Jane, that when she was at the poolside the day prior, she noticed the birds eating the left over French fries from the guest’s plates. He was reinvigorated, excited even, saying “let’s try this!”
With a container full of freshly cooked hot chips, placed on old white china plates, replicating the birds’ poolside feeding habits, Nick reset the traps. The pressure and anticipation was intense but the results came quickly as the first pair of elusive Mynah birds were trapped and all the cages were rapidly filling. On the 4th day, 18 birds were captured and the results continued to increase to a high 80 plus by the time Nick and his family checked out of the resort.
Resort General Manager Peter Hopgood is glad to finally solve the issue of the cheeky mynah birds.
“We were all pleased with the results, no more than Nick I can assure you. The resort now has a much quieter and surreal feel to it; the native birds are more visible as the competition has lessened. This doesn’t mean that the mynahs have been eradicated, we still have an issue at hand but not as much as before Nick’s assistance”, Mr. Hopgood stated.
Mr. Hopgood stated the staff would not have anything to do with euthanizing the birds.
“We understand that this is also a cultural issue that most of our staff were not comfortable with because they felt these birds were native to Fiji. It was explained to the staff in detail how the mynah birds are an introduced species to Fiji and the negative impact it has on the native species of the country”, Mr. Hopgood continued.
“We explained to our staff that we were using very humane methods of euthanizing the mynah birds, however they shied away from these responsibilities. Fijians will not harm any creature that is not food and the issue was very sensitive”, Mr. Hopgood stated.
With special cages and bags used to remove the birds from their traps, the staff were taught the proper humane methods of euthanizing the birds.
“The number of birds we have managed to capture has also intrigued the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc (CIMAG), especially with the use of French fries as a lure. We recommend this group to other resorts and properties that may be facing the same problem. It is a worthy investment and our resort, guests and native bird species are much happier for it”, Mr. Hopgood added.
As at the end of March, 1,103 Mynah birds have been caught.
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