From the Newsroom

WIRES wildlife vet Dr Tania Bishop treats a rainbow lorikeet with lorikeet paralysis syndrome (LPS) at a drop-off centre in Grafton. Image: contributed

LPS cases continue to fly high

Emma Pritchard


More than 100 rainbow lorikeets suffering from lorikeet paralysis syndrome (LPS) have been handed to WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue, and Education Service) volunteers for immediate treatment at a drop-off centre in Grafton each day since the doors officially opened on February 6.

As the LPS crisis continues throughout Southern Queensland and Northern NSW, with countless numbers of the colourful parrots affected by the debilitating condition, scientists are no closer to uncovering the cause.

Research aimed at identifying the causative agent, which is potentially linked to the ingestion of a toxin, possibly formed on a plant due to the extreme rain and heat, remains ongoing. 

Rainbow lorikeets with LPS present with serious symptoms including an inability to fly, walking with an unbalanced gait, loss of control of their limbs and beaks, and being unable to blink.

WIRES wildlife vet Dr Tania Bishop, who was on site at the drop-off centre in Grafton last week to provide immediate assessment, triage, and treatment to affected rainbow lorikeets said she is extremely grateful to members of the public who have brought in, and who continue to hand over, parrots affected by LPS.  

“The sooner an LPS affected bird gets an assessment, the better their chance of survival is,” she explained.

“We couldn’t save them without the greatly appreciated assistance of the community.”

A spokesperson for WIRES said while they estimate thousands of rainbow lorikeets have been struck down by LPS, a seasonal condition which mainly occurs between December and February, the rescue organisation deployed an Emergency Responder from the north of the state to Grafton last week, along with three additional Emergency Responders and Wildlife Ambulances from the greater Sydney region to provide additional assistance in the rescue, transport, and immediate care of affected parrots.

Since the number of LPS cases in the Grafton area began escalating three weeks ago, WIRES volunteers and local vet clinics have been inundated.

Robyn Gray, Clarence Valley Avian Coordinator for WIRES is also thankful to community members who have brought rainbow lorikeets with LPS to the drop-off centre at 8 Kemp Street, Grafton, describing the current outbreak as being “of epic proportions.”

Ms Gray is also encouraging people not to share misinformation about LPS on social media as speculation surrounding the cause intensifies.

“Please, leave it (research) to the experts,” she said.

The Clarence Valley Independent will continue to provide updates once further information is made available for publication.

  • If you locate a rainbow lorikeet with suspected LPS, gently pick the parrot up in a towel, place it in a secure box, and hand it to WIRES volunteers at the drop-off centre. Opening hours are 9am – 4pm daily, subject to change. WIRES volunteers at the drop-off centre are also seeking donations of hand towels and washers.