2 May 2023

Canberra nature reserve closures for pest control beginning from May

| Claire Fenwicke
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Feral pig

Feral pigs, like this one spotted in Namadgi National Park, are one of the pest species to be targeted in pest control programs across the Territory. Photo: EPSDD.

Sections of Canberra’s nature reserves will be closed from May to July while pest control operations take place for animals such as rabbits, deer and pigs.

The ACT Government undertakes rabbit control programs in areas of high conservation value to make sure their population doesn’t get to a level where they cause significant environmental harm.

Declared a pest under the Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005, they’re considered a hazard to the environment as their grazing destroys vegetation and their warrens contribute to soil erosion, threatening the survival of native birds, mammals and insects which rely on plants for food and shelter.

A statement from the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate said rabbit populations had increased “considerably” in several of Canberra’s nature reserves, including Mt Ainslie, Mt Majura and Red Hill.

The following reserves will be closed every Tuesday and Thursday for rabbit population control during the following time periods:

  • Entire Mt Ainslie reserve, 9 May to 26 May, 8 pm to 3 am
  • Entire Mr Majura reserve, 9 May to 26 May, 8 pm to 3 am
  • Entire Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo nature reserve, 9 May to 30 June, 8 pm to 3 am
  • Entire Mt Pleasant reserve, 9 May to 28 July, 8 pm to 3 am
  • Entire Percival Hill reserve, 9 May to 28 July, 8 pm to 3 am

READ ALSO RSPCA ACT calls for more ‘absolutely vital’ volunteers amid influx of animals

The vertebrate pest control program will begin in the ACT from 15 May.

This will result in areas of the Namadgi National Park, Murrumbidgee River Corridor, Molonglo River Reserve, Googong Foreshores and Lower Cotter Catchment to be closed for visitor safety.

These closures will be staggered to leave other areas open for the public to access.

“Across our parks and reserves, vertebrate pest species such as pigs and deer endanger threatened plant and animal species through grazing, antler rubbing, trampling, trail creation, ground disturbance and wallowing,” ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna Bren Burkevics said.

“The vertebrate pest control program applies thermal aerial control methods to remove pest species from our conservation areas and minimise their negative impacts on environmental, cultural, social and economic assets.”

Aircraft may be operating within the closed areas during the program, with buffer zones, signage and sweeps prior to all operations set to occur.

“Animal welfare is a priority, and all control activities undertaken in accordance with best practice and humane control of feral animals,” Mr Burkevics said.

Specific closures for the vertebrate pest control program area:

  • Namadgi National Park Naas, 15 May to 19 May
  • Namadgi National Park West, 18 May to 26 May
  • Namadgi National Park North, 22 May to 26 May
  • Lower Cotter Catchment, 22 May to 26 May
  • Murrumbidgee River Corridor, 29 May to 4 June
  • Molonglo River Corridor, 29 May to 2 June
  • Googong Foreshores, 29 May to 2 June

This project is supported and funded by the Australian Government through the Regional Fund for the Australian Alps and the Commonwealth National Landcare program.

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While vertebrate pests do contribute to “endanger threatened plant and animal species” so to do the noxious plants and weeds. For decades the Murrumbidgee corridor has been completely overun by weeds. If there is enough money to throw around by way of a $3000 an hour helicopter, pilot, spotter and shooter surely some work could be done protecting native plant and animal species by reducing noxious weeds.
And let’s not get started on the overinflated kill numbers that parks spruik after the cull.

Cue the outraged wild pig protectors

Trevor Willis1:35 pm 03 May 23

Any chance of them closing Parliament House for a few days and getting rid of some of the feral pests in there ??

You mean the Greens?

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