Discarded bread bags found at Spring Lake.
Discarded bread bags found at Spring Lake.

Feeding bread to wildlife causing more harm than good

WHILE it may be a family favourite past time, feeding bread to wildlife could be causing more harm than good.

A number of concerned Springfield Lakes residents are calling for Ipswich City Council to erect signs to discourage the behaviour, saying it is disrupting the lakes' ecosystem.

Springfield Lakes Nature Care Group president Luise Manning said she was worried if it did not stop, the bread-feeding could cause irreversible damage.

"From what I can gather more people are feeding the ducks or fish bread and then throwing the bread bags into the lake,” Mrs Manning said.

"Putting those nutrients into the lake is not good for native animals and also encourages bad behaviour.

"One woman told me because people had been feeding water dragons near the local restaurant, one of them jumped off the railing into her baby's pram.

"I would like to see signs erected like those around Redlands Shire Council who have also had problems with the same issue, particularly regarding migratory birds.”

Ipswich local and retired environmental officer Mark Panter said there was nothing good about feeding bread to animals.

"It's not a good practice, there is nothing good that could come from it,” Mr Panter said.

"From the perspective of the fish the yeast from the bread constipates them and while that may not seem like the end of the world, for something that has to constantly fight off predators, it makes them vulnerable to predation.”

Luise Manning would like to see a sign like this one created by the Redlands Shire Council erected around the lakes at Springfield Lakes.
Luise Manning would like to see a sign like this one created by the Redlands Shire Council erected around the lakes at Springfield Lakes.

"The bread also attracts birds who can experience the same health issues as the fish.

"Then there is the issue of bringing in certain species like the White Ibis or crows which can develop into plague proportions that cause issues with smell and noise.

"That hasn't been a huge issue in Ipswich yet, but it's not something we want to be encouraging, but feeding bread to animals is what can start that off.”

Springfield Centenary Canoe Club president Peter Cooke said he too had noticed an increase in people feeding bread to wildlife in the area.

"We train every Sunday afternoon at Spring Lake West and I have noticed an increase in the bread bags found in and around the lake,” Mr Cooke said.

"I think people just think it's a cheap form of entertainment to feed half a loaf of bread to whatever pops up.

"If you add all that nutrient to the water it mucks up the whole ecosystem, the fish get too big and run out of oxygen and they all die.”

Councillor Sheila Ireland said while she didn't encourage the behaviour, implementing signs around the lakes was not something she could promise would happen immediately, if at all.

"I don't encourage people feeding bread to the wildlife, but I do understand why people do it,” Cr Ireland said.

"I would consider erecting signage around the lakes, but it would be a lengthier process as we have to go through a signage department and all signs would have to be standardised.

"It's therefore not something I can guarantee will happen or at least not in a hurry.”