You can help identify what’s killing lorikeets

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iNaturalist Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome Project

Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome (LPS) is a disease occurring in wild rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) that causes the birds to become paralysed and unable to fly.

This disease is seasonal, occurring between October and June, with the highest number of cases happening between December and February. This results in thousands of rainbow lorikeets being admitted into care each year across south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales.

Rainbow lorikeets with LPS initially require intensive care followed by long-term rehabilitation, wearing on the resources of both veterinarians and wildlife carers.

The cause of LPS is unknown with research unable to identify an infectious agent or man-made toxin as the causative agent. However, researchers are now exploring the possibility that LPS may be caused by ingestion of a toxic plant that occurs in southern Queensland and northern NSW.

The seasonality of the disease suggests a blooming/fruiting period of the toxic plant that occurs during October to June. The distribution of the locations where lorikeets are found is not random, suggesting that if a toxic plant is the cause of LPS, the plant occurs in some areas but not others.

How you can help

There are full instructions here:

They are using iNaturalist.

If you within the study area (roughly Bundaberg to Grafton) all you need to do is add your observations of plants/other food sources on which you see Rainbow lorikeets feeding on for plant identification.

Scientists need three photos of:

  • the whole plant
  • its leaves
  • its fruit and or flowers (3).

They also need the date, time and location that the Rainbow Lorikeets were feeding.

I talked about this with Danny Hoyland on West Bremer Radio on 9 December 2023. Listen live each week: Saturday 7.40 am, West Bremer Radio.

Source: You can help identify what’s killing lorikeets, iNaturalist Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome Project, Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome Project – University of Sydney

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