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Byron Shire
May 25, 2022

Bikers trash Belongil bird sanctuary

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Bikers seen trashing the Belongil bird sanctuary on Saturday (December 3). Photo courtesy Byron Residents Group environment team
Bikers seen trashing the Belongil bird sanctuary on Saturday (December 3). Photo courtesy Byron Residents Group environment team

Chris Dobney

Migratory birds sometimes fly thousands of kilometres before resting – and sometimes nesting – on Belongil Beach near the estuary of Belongil Creek.

The area is a sanctuary for the creatures and part of the Cape Byron Marine Park.

But their peace and quiet came to an end on Saturday, when a band of thoughtless bikers roared through their midst.

Imagine flying all that way, only to have your rest-stop disturbed by a bunch of hoons.

Fortunately for the birds, the selfish riders were caught on camera by members of a group conducting a HotSpots survey on the beach.

Group co-ordinator Mary Gardner told Echonetdaily that the creek mouth was closed on the day, meaning the rev-heads could roar right through the sanctuary as well as the adjacent Elements of Byron Resort frontage all the way to Main Beach.

She added there was no way the bikers could have avoided noticing the site.

‘There often is some nesting in early December. Fencing is up and there are all sorts of signs alerting people.

‘Anyway, there are no motorcycles or vehicles allowed on any Byron beaches except in an emergency,’ she said.

Ms Gardner said it made her wonder how often such activity takes place unmonitored.

‘Our group has been monitoring hotspots in the regions, meaning we had about a couple of dozen people in 20 different places just checking the conditions in the channels.

‘One of the teams was at the mouth of the Belongil [on Saturday]. They were taking photos of different things that were going on and as they were there these motorcyclists came across on the beach – right through the resting birds and took off down towards Main Beach.

‘I alerted the folks over at Marine Parks, and they said if anybody recognised any of them they would be keen to talk to them.

‘I think a bit of publicity might help too – if they see their own photo up there they might think, “oops, better not do that again”,’ she said.

If anyone has any information about the bikers in the photograph, Marine Parks can be contacted on (02) 6630 9320.

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  1. Just shows how important it is to have mobile cameras on the ready.
    Let’s hope these hoons soon discover the higher level of excitement, in observing our wonderful migratory and local bird populations.

    We all need to be particularly careful too, of the 50mm wide nesting holes in our sand dunes, often right near the high tide mark. These are the beautiful Rainbow Bee Eaters that are a shear wonder to watch gliding and darting about, catching insects for their chicks, deep in these holes.

    Parents need to convert playful kids from potentially stomping these tiny families’ homes out, and getting them to watch them fly instead.

  2. O Nature…brings tears to my Heart…in.what is happening to Byron…Why were not the Police called..? To receive these illegal Bikers on Main Beach ! Yes i know Rangers work..is the legal reason..So many Nature Preservationists. .& far too many reasons..by the Ignorance of ???

  3. The recreational freedoms of humans takes precedent over all other life. This planet was put here for us to use and abuse as we see fit. Our ‘fun’ is more important than anything else – so get rid of the birds, the sharks and those stupid trees and make the world into one big meaningless recreational park!

    Just kidding!

  4. Its not good, however I would think that the sight of a dog, on leash or not would trigger a greater fear responce in the birds and actually cause them to be wary of nesting in the area.Keep dogs off all the beaches, after all they do attract sharks, which brings up another Question, the premier said in ballina the other week that all that could be done had been done in regards to shark attacks, so nets had to be installed as a last resort. Had the council discharged their duty of care by erecting notices stating that there had been recent shark attacks, had they banned activities like dogs on beaches that increase the likely hood of shark attacks. If not then they are probaly legally liable to persons injured by sharks because of neglegance of duty of care. Bikes are not good, but dogs are fare worse

    • This is the most appropriate reaction posted so far. .these goons only learn the hard way. ..and by example so do their friends and ilk

  5. We were walking the coastal track from Brunswick Heads that day and 3 bikers rode past heading towards belonging. I thought I saw them later riding through Brunswick caravan park and may have been staying there. I tried the number you provided but it was disconnected

  6. Thank God for Mary and her wonderful team of eco souls. I felt real pain when I read this. The Belongil has been a Sanctuary.. in every sense of the word to many species of life.

    Lets hope that this won’t ever happen again. Some folks need deep education.

  7. That’s very sad, and I must apologise for the mindless riders actions. I ride a motorcycle on the road, and always try to do the right thing as many people have no respect for motorcyclists, probably due to a few setting a poor example, and those people’s car driving attitude toward a bike and rider is often very dangerous. We all should show respect to each other and the environment and its animals.


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