The investigation continues into the mass epidemic affecting Rainbow and Scaley-Breasted Lorikeets. Picture: MATT LOXTON
The investigation continues into the mass epidemic affecting Rainbow and Scaley-Breasted Lorikeets. Picture: MATT LOXTON

Lorikeet epidemic delivers ‘frustrating’ test results

MYSTERY continues to surround the mass epidemic among rainbow and scaly-breasted lorikeets with recent test results unable to find the exact cause.

"It's really frustrating," WIRES volunteer Robyn Gray said.

"We have some birds that can fly again and are ready to go but we're not sure whether to release them when we don't know what's causing this problem."

Ten deceased birds were sent to Taronga Zoo to undergo testing to determine the exact cause of this acute paralysis. But despite a thorough investigation, they returned an inconclusive result.

"It's weird that we still can't pinpoint what it is," Riverbank Animal Hospital vet nurse Claudia Fraser said.

"They look drunk; their eyes look drunk, they're wobbly and can't fly.

"Apparently it started in Queensland, and now it's spread as far south as Coffs Harbour."

A popular theory among the general public is that the birds are getting drunk from eating mangoes.

"It makes sense at first," Ms Fraser said.

"They're nectar eaters, and it could be that with all the fires and flood, these birds are resorting to eating mangoes and getting drunk. But, if that was the case, they'd be okay the next day. But they're not getting better, they're just getting worse and worse."

If you find a sick or injured lorikeet, please drop it at your nearest veterinary clinic as soon as possible.


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