Parks Victoria’s removal of deer and other feral animals from some of the state’s most popular national parks restarts on Monday 1 March in the Alpine National Park and is a critical step in helping nature recover from the 2019-20 bushfires.
“Nature is slowly recovering from last year’s massive bushfires in eastern Victoria, but it needs all the help it can get, and reducing feral animal numbers is a critical step in helping nature recover,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.
“Feral animals that survived the fires such as deer have bred up and are impeding the natural recovery of the bush by grazing, browsing and trampling sensitive native vegetation and wallowing in burnt areas.
“Reducing the number of feral animals in these areas will give threatened native plants, plant communities and animals the best chance of survival after the fires,” Mr Cox said.
Parks Victoria plans to begin removing deer and other feral animals from fire-affected and adjacent areas from today, and will carry out ground and aerial shooting across a range of parks including Mt Buffalo, Croajingolong and the Alpine National Park.
The program, which began last year, has so far removed 4300 feral deer from recovering high-conservation value areas.
“While the bushfires were a tragedy for our native plants and animals they were a boon for many feral animals, providing easy hunting grounds for feral cats and foxes, and opening up new areas for big browsing animals like feral deer.
“Tackling feral animals in national parks hit by last year’s bushfires is a critical component to Victoria’s bushfire recovery program.”
With around one million deer or more in Victoria the Invasive Species Council is calling on the Victorian Government to re-classify deer as a pest animal, rather than a protected game species, as it does with feral pigs, foxes, cats and rabbits.
It is also urging the Victorian Government to expand its aerial and ground shooting program across all land tenures to control deer and other feral animal numbers and to promptly develop regional deer control plans as part of the state’s Deer Control Strategy.
Important: Parts of some parks will be closed for public safety reasons while aerial shooting is underway. For details visit the Parks Victoria website.
- Banner image by Tommy Miller | Flickr | CC BY 2.0