11 May 2022

Parks, reserves to be closed for periods over winter for feral deer and pig cull

| Lottie Twyford
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Deer such as these will be targeted over the coming months as part of aerial control operations to manage populations of feral species. Photo: Peter Tremain.

Parks and reserves across the ACT will be closed for periods over May and June to allow pest control operations to take place.

An aerial control operation will be run to manage populations of feral animals such as pigs and deer, which can damage the environment.

It follows two similar, successful operations via air undertaken last year by ACT Parks and Conservation Service.

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said the operation is one of many that focuses on reducing the impact of invasive species on the environment.

“Across our parks and reserves, feral pest animals like pigs and deer damage our threatened plant and animal species through grazing, antler rubbing, trampling, trail creation, ground disturbance and wallowing,” he said.

“This includes areas that are crucial to the ACT’s water supply, such as the Upper Cotter Catchment of Namadgi National Park.”

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said feral pest animals like pigs and deer damage our threatened plant and animal species. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Mr Gentleman said it was particularly important to ensure the plants and animals at Namadgi National Park, which is still recovering from the 2019/20 bushfire season, were given the best chance to endure.

“[To do so], we need to control feral animal populations,” he explained.

About 80 per cent, or 82,700 ha, of Namadgi National Park was burned in the 2020 bushfires.

Following the fires, the ACT Government identified 27 risks and areas of damage including impacts on threatened ecological communities and threats to biodiversity by predation, feral herbivores (deer and pigs) and invasive species.

Burnt stumps and green grasslands at Namadgi National Park one year on from the Orroral Valley fire

Burnt stumps and green grasslands at Namadgi National Park one year on from the Orroral Valley fire. Photo: ACT Parks and Conservation Service.

In response, the ACT Government developed a long-term Bushfire and Flood Recovery Plan, which highlighted a “real danger that some of those things that make Namadgi such a special place will be lost if action [was not taken] to repair damage and manage threats arising from the 2020 disasters”.

Most of the worst-hit areas of Namadgi reopened to the public just over a year ago, well ahead of the original timeline which had predicted these areas would remain closed until 2023.

Mr Gentleman said the community’s safety remained a priority and extensive precautions, such as buffer zones, clear signage and sweeps before every shoot, would be in place.

“Community members should not be alarmed by aircraft operating at the impacted areas,” Mr Gentleman said.

READ ALSO Report finds Indigenous Australians disproportionally affected by Black Summer bushfires

Control activities will be undertaken in accordance with best practices for the humane control of feral animals, the ACT Government confirmed.

“We understand these closures might affect some visitors’ travel plans. However, this program will help our environment and allow Namadgi to continue to recover,” Mr Gentleman said.

“Park and reserve closures are staged, so there are still many areas of Namadgi, Canberra Nature Park and the river reserves open during this time.”

The specific closures are:

  • Namadgi South: 9 May – 20 May
  • Namadgi North: 16 May – 25 May
  • Lower Cotter Catchment: 16 May – 25 May
  • Murrumbidgee River Corridor: 23 May – 29 May
  • Molonglo: 23 May – 29 May
  • Googong: 23 May – 3 June (open weekends)

For more information on closures or about parks and reserves, visit the ACT Parks website.

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Some stupid fool will likely want to protect the ‘heritage’ mountain deer at some stage.

With the current cost of food, it is sheer madness to see all this venison being destroyed, and left to rot.

Capital Retro10:03 am 12 May 22

I had some venison salami last week. Bloody delicious.

Capital Retro12:23 pm 11 May 22

Why not brumbies as well?

No need to cull Brumbies… They’re all leaving for lucrative Rugby contracts overseas ?.

As Namadgi NP is currently free of horses, the priority
monitoring activity is surveillance of the western border of
the Park. If feral horses do become established in Namadgi
NP, a monitoring, assessment and eradication program
will be developed-Namadgi National park feral horse management plan 2020

Capital Retro10:06 am 12 May 22

I dispute your claim that Namadgi is free of feral horses and in fact there was a report on this on RiotACT last year.

And culling isn’t enough – they need to be eradicated.

Not my claim, as mentioned it is from the Namadgi National Park Feral Horse Management Plan 2020 and is based on continuous surveillance as well as trapping and fencing near areas where horses may enter from NSW.
The ACT does not have a horse culling program as there is zero tolerance for feral horses in Namadgi National Park. The management plan states that they are to “Rapidly eradicate all feral horses entering Namadgi NP by passive trapping and shooting, aerial shooting and ground shooting”

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