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Gold Coast natural environment

We have one of Australia's most biodiverse cities. Let's explore, celebrate and work together to protect it for the future.

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The Australian White Ibis or Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis molucca) is a valuable part of Australia's natural ecosystem.

The problem

While the native bird plays an important role in pest management by preying upon small insects and grubs within grassland and wetland habitats, in urban areas, ibis are known to develop over-zealous foraging and scavenging habits.

Before 1979, white ibis were rarely sighted in Gold Coast urban areas. However, the availability of food scraps at tips, parks and public eating areas has resulted in the birds now relying on artificial food sources. Ibis have become a nuisance to local residents, and impact native flora and fauna.

The reliance on artificial food sources has not only substantially affected the health of the birds, but has an adverse affect on the community at large.

The ibis are:

  • posing a health risk to humans - the ibis are potential disease carriers (for example, Salmonella)
  • harassing locals and tourists for food
  • upturning public and commercial bins whilst scavenging in search of food
  • damaging native vegetation
  • disrupting and displacing other protected wildlife.

Ibis Management Coordination Group

The problem of the growing ibis population has seen local and state authorities work together to form the Ibis Management Coordination Group.

The group aims to restrict the source of artificial food supplies to the ibis, ultimately reducing numbers in urban areas to an environmentally sustainable level where birds and humans can peacefully co-exist.

This is being achieved through:

  • modifying refuse tip management
  • installing covered ibis proof garbage bins throughout the Gold Coast
  • erecting signs in public eating areas discouraging people from feeding the ibis
  • implementing a bird management program for problem urban areas.

For advice on the management of ibis, contact the City of Gold Coast's Pest Management Unit by phone on
1300 GOLD COAST or 07 5582 8211, or use our online Report a problem - Animals form to report an issue.

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