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Over 150 deer culled in ‘successful’ aerial deer control program

Lachlan Roberts 13 June 2019 47

The aerial shooting program was undertaken by a team of experienced contractors overseen by the Parks and Conservation Service. File photo.

Over 150 deer have been culled in what the ACT Government has called a ‘successful’ aerial shooting program in the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo River Corridors and surrounding land last week.

Rising populations of fallow deer in the  ACT’s Bullen Range, Woodstock and Lower Molonglo nature reserves prompted ACT Parks and Conservation to order a cull of the feral animals last month. The operation saw 156 deer culled in a week-long shooting program.

In total, 152 fallow deer, four sambar deer as well as 11 feral pigs and one feral goat were culled as part of the program.

ACT Parks and Conservation’s invasive animal manager Oliver Orgill said fallow deer populations in Canberra’s river corridors and surrounding areas had been a major concern for the service, especially in the Lower Molonglo nature reserve.

Calling deer “invasive animals that graze on native plants, kill young trees through antler rubbing and cause damage to sensitive river corridor environments with their hooves”, Mr Orgill said they have the potential to cause significant environmental and agricultural damage if populations are left unchecked.

“We have been able to significantly reduce the emerging feral deer populations in Bullen Range, Woodstock and Lower Molonglo nature reserves and surrounding areas before they have a chance to become established,” Mr Orgill said.

“Of note, we were able to remove over 50 fallow deer from the Lower Molonglo nature reserve which will reduce the likelihood of deer from this population moving up the river corridor and into urban areas.

“This will reduce impacts on our nature reserves and surrounding farmland.”

ACT Parks and Conservation regularly undertakes ground-based deer control programs with previous programs at Googong foreshores removing 430 deer since 2014, and 60 deer in sensitive areas in the Murrumbidgee River corridor since 2015.

Alongside an independent vet who monitored the program to make sure the cull took place humanely, Mr Orgill said the successful cull shows the program is effective and will be implemented again.

“The success of the operation lays a solid foundation and demonstrates this type of program is effective, efficient and operationally sound,” he said. “It will be able to be implemented again in the future to control emerging feral deer populations.

“An independent vet helped monitor the operation and undertook over 50 carcass inspections on the ground. The auditing revealed all feral deer were culled humanely in accordance with operational protocols and no adverse welfare outcomes were reported.

“We thank the public for cooperating with the nature reserve and trail closures for the duration of the program.”

Nature reserves and walking trails, including part of the Centenary Trail were closed while the program took place, but have now reopened.

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47 Responses to Over 150 deer culled in ‘successful’ aerial deer control program
rationalobserver rationalobserver 6:53 pm 17 Jun 19

It’s hardly a success when deer are ignored and allowed to breed up to the point where drastic, expensive and socially unpalatable measures like this are required, and then nothing happens until they breed up again and we do it all over again.
Meanwhile, members of local organisations like the ADA would readily volunteer their time to conduct sustained management, which minimises any problems and avoids the need for helicopter gunships all together.
But that’s not sexy and worthy of a headline is it?

Skeptic9999 Skeptic9999 10:37 pm 14 Jun 19

Says aim was preventative (so they dont have to cull larger numbers of deer in later years) therefore the economics is not about how many were shot.

Grimm Grimm 10:20 am 14 Jun 19

So after spending tens of thousands, if not well into 6 figure territory for shooters and running costs on a chopper, they only got 150 deer?

I would hardly call that a success. More like a gross mismanagement of funds.

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