Melbourne Cricket Ground - Raptors in use to deter MCG seagulls
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Raptors in use to deter MCG seagulls

Jul 12, 2012

Seagulls get among the AFL action at the MCGThe Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) has received approval from the Department of Sustainability and Environment for a further trial of raptors to deter seagulls at the MCG during upcoming AFL matches.

The trial, which follows a similar trial during last year’s AFL Finals Series, will involve the use of two wedge-tailed eagles, a natural predator of the gull, perched on top of the roof of the MCG – one each on the northern stand and Great Southern Stand. 

The eagles will be tethered and be permitted to fly up to 15 metres away from their handler. An authorised scientific wildlife management consultant will monitor this research project.

Starting with Saturday night’s Geelong Cats v Collingwood match, the trial will take place prior to and during seven matches during the remainder of the 2012 AFL home and away season:

Saturday July 14 - Geelong Cats v Collingwood
Sunday July 22 - Richmond v North Melbourne
Friday August 3 - Hawthorn v Geelong Cats
Sunday August 5 - Melbourne v Gold Coast Suns
Sunday August 12 - Richmond v Western Bulldogs
Sunday August 19 - Hawthorn v Gold Coast Suns
Friday August 24 - Richmond v Essendon

The matches are a mixture of day and night events, to ensure all scenarios are experienced during the trial.  This will lead to a greater understanding as to the flight patterns of the gulls.

MCC CEO Stephen Gough said approval was requested as part of the club’s continued investigation into the presence of seagulls at the MCG during sporting events, which can cause aesthetic concerns for players, broadcasters and patrons.

“While the initial trial was helpful, we feel we need to undertake further use of the raptors before we can be certain of its effectiveness,” said Mr Gough. 

“We hope that this trial will reduce the number of gulls on the MCG playing surface while the game is in progress.”

It is expected that the presence of the eagles will create an atmosphere whereby the gulls think these raptors live at the MCG and will be deterred from returning. It is a natural, environmentally-friendly and safe way of removing them without harm.

The use of raptors to scare native birds such as seagulls is not permitted without authorisation from DSE under the Wildlife Act. 

 

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