President's Report
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President’s 2015-16 Report

The following is the 2015-16 President’s Report for the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc (CIMAG).

2015-16 was another solid year for myna control in the ACT and for CIMAG.

I would like to first recognize the work of the CIMAG Committee: Ray Barge, Ross Dalton, Andy Fuller, Bruce Lindenmayer, Greg Flowers and Nick Hall for their work on behalf of the group over the past year. I also wish to record our appreciation for the support and work of our Patron, Prof Tony Peacock. I must also acknowledge Graham Gliddon for the many hours of work he continues to do each month in collating the capture data, Ryu Callaway for managing the Membership Database and David Cook for maintaining the CIMAG website and chatlines.

This year is the tenth of the organisation and the success we have achieved over those ten years is the result of the efforts by members of the Group. It is your efforts in spreading the message about the threats posed by mynas, and in trapping - which has drastically reduced the numbers of mynas across the Canberra region - that has been the foundation of the Group’s collective success. So a big “thankyou” to you all.

2015-16 can be regarded as another successful year for us, although it comes with some difficulties. The program continues to receive widespread public support in the region and support from the ACT and federal Governments, the Australian National University, and the Invasive Animals Collaborative Research Centre. Canberrans and people from the region are continuing to join the group. Through their trapping efforts they have helped to reduce further the presence of mynas in our region.

But mynas are being seen in our urban nature reserves and peri-urban areas, and the surveys by the Canberra Ornithologists Group indicate that myna numbers have slightly increased in abundance across the Canberra region compared to the previous year. This is also reflected by the increased reports by Canberrans – when seeking a trap – of an increase in myna numbers in their areas. It also seems that more mynas are seen when driving around Canberra – more often the case than say for the past 3-5 years.

This should be added incentive not to allow complacency to take over. The myna control task needs to be one of continuous effort otherwise we will see myna numbers increase in a big way.

In that vein, CIMAG made a formal submission to the ACT Government for mynas to be declared a Pest Animal. If this was supported, it would trigger some stronger government effort and be a signal to State governments to do the same. We are preparing a submission to the federal government to seek their agreement for mynas to be declared a threat to native wildlife. The scientific work of Kate Grarock and others provide strong evidence to support such a case.

A number of activities of the past year are worth specifically mentioning.

We continued the public education and awareness raising effort during 2015-16. CIMAG does this in a number of ways:

Providing support for myna control activities elsewhere has taken up a lot of time over the past year. Our success has been an inspiration to other groups and individuals across NSW and now to a greater extent in Victoria and Queensland.

The trapping effort continues across the Canberra district. Aspects worth mentioning are:

The Nest Removal Project has received a boost with the ACT Government providing funding for this to continue in a more structured way in Mulligans Flat, Goorooyaroo and Kinleyside Nature Reserves around Gungahlin. We could always do with some more helpers, so if interested please get in touch with me.

We have received strong support from the federal Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, and from the ACT Commissioner for the Environment, Prof Kate Auty.

The membership of CIMAG continues to grow strongly: some 103 new members in the last 12 months.

The small increase in observed numbers of mynas is a timely reminder that we must not get complacent. We can be sure of one thing. If we don’t continue the effort of reducing the opportunities for mynas to feed and breed, and if we lessen the culling effort we can anticipate a rapid rise in myna numbers.

In conclusion I would like to thank all our members for their continuing efforts. We look forward to your further efforts in tackling this significant pest.

Bill Handke
30 Nov 2016