Salty Lagoon seagulls fit to fly
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
AFTER two weeks of being tube-fed pureed fish three times a day, the first flock of seagulls rescued from the Salty Lagoon at Evans Head have been released.
The birds were nurtured back to health by Ballina seabird rescuer Lance Ferris after a massive fish kill in the Salty Lagoon on December 8 started killing birds that feasted on poisonous dead fish.
Many people have blamed the kill on Richmond Valley Council's sewerage treatment plant which pumps into the lagoon, but the council's general manager, Brian Wilkinson, says it was a natural event. He said the sand barrier of Salty Lagoon had breached after a storm.
Mr Ferris was hoping against hope that the birds didn't fly straight back to the lagoon that poisoned them.
"After burying around 20 seagulls, we were able to rescue 27 more, but of these only 16 have survived," Mr Ferris said.
"There used to be three or four flocks of seagulls at Evans Head, now they are all one."
Mr Ferris is still reeling from the environmental catastrophe. "This shouldn't be happening in this day and age," he said.
"My big concern is what we're not seeing. The ospreys and the eagles who have eaten the sick seagulls will have died. There will just be an absence of all of these amaz- ing species."