Sydney doesn’t need a Pied Piper, but a Director of Ibis Mitigation is on the horizon
But speak to Potts Point residents, who have recently reported “runaway” problems with refuse collection and overflowing rubbish, and suddenly London doesn’t seem quite so bad. In 2019, the City of Sydney doubled the number of rat baits city-wide in response to the increase in rodent numbers. With Sydney’s projected population set to reach 6.1 million by 2033, and the current rental crisis prompting calls for more inner-city housing, might we be heading for London-New York-style density in the next decade?
Over the past 20 years, Sydney has seen its own uniquely Australian invasion of a wild animal: the Garbage Chicken. Professor Darryl Jones of Griffith University’s School of Environment and Science told me that there is evidence that ibises are losing their fear and that they can slowly migrate to cities and breed. They steal our lunch and have learned to open our trash cans to invite more bugs to feast. It’s certainly a matter of time before Sydney hires a director from ibis Mitigation.
Until then, it’s worth thinking about. If bugs are animals that are perceived as harmful to the natural environment and causing problems for the rest of society, it’s probably time to think about our own behavior. Rising food waste is leading animals to capitalize on new food sources. Overconsumption leads to excess waste. These animals respond primarily to conditions that we have created through habitat modification. For them survival. For us greed.
So who was the real vermin? This poor mouse dragging his mutilated hind legs through a heated London apartment stocked with more food than I really needed? Or I?