The NSW Government must fast-track its review on pest control in Kosciuszko National Park after pausing all shooting operations in the park due to an aerial deer cull last summer.
‘The cessation of all shooting activities due to allegations that an aerial deer cull potentially occurred near park users is deeply concerning,’ Invasive Species Council conservation director James Trezise said.
‘The safety of park visitors and staff is paramount and it’s important to ensure procedures are in place for safe pest control. But we must ensure the urgent work continues to save Kosci’s ecosystems and wildlife.
‘Kosciuszko National Park is one of Australia’s most important natural areas and is protected by NSW and national environmental law. It contains some of Australia’s most unique and vulnerable ecosystems and wildlife that are being heavily impacted by exploding numbers of feral pigs, horses and deer.
‘It is appropriate that aerial deer control operations in the park are paused pending a rapid evaluation of these allegations. However, the cessation of all culling operations, including ground shooting, is not warranted given ground culling and aerial culling have distinct operating procedures,’ he said.
Reports by some media outlets and politicians that feral horses have been shot from helicopters in Kosciuszko are totally inaccurate.
‘The Kosciuszko Wild Horse Management Plan, finalised late last year, was widely supported. It was born from lengthy community consultation and outlined the control measures needed to bring the park’s horse population down, including ground shooting,’ said Mr Trezise.
‘Kosciuszko National Park is home to native plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. This iconic park provides critical habitat for unique wildlife, like the critically endangered southern corroboree frog and the iconic platypus. There are sphagnum wetlands that are more than 4000 years old in the park, yet these can be irreversibly damaged by a herd of feral hard-hoofed animals.
‘Kosciuszko’s fragile alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems did not evolve with large hard-hoofed animals.
‘The only way we will save our iconic national park is to take the actions necessary to control the 14,000 feral horses and the thousands of feral deer and pigs that are destroying this unique and iconic part of Australia,’ he said.