Victoria’s new hunting authority no solution for feral animal control

Feral animal control in Victoria could be undermined by the new $8.2 million Game Management Authority announced in this week’s budget if it is modelled after the NSW Game Council, the Invasive Species Council warned today.

“The NSW Game Council is a failed model that should not be replicated in Victoria,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said.

“The Game Council consistently puts the desires of hunters for a hunting experience ahead of effective feral animal control.

“Hunters want sustainable populations of animals to hunt, not the removal of feral animals from the landscape – this is shown by the way hunters in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania have blocked deer from being declared a pest species.

“In spite of a huge community backlash and no evidence for effectiveness in feral animal control, Game Council hunters are going to be allowed to hunt in 77 NSW national parks.

“The Invasive Species Council is concerned that the new Victorian authority is intended to play a role in advising the State Government on the control of pest animals, advice that could undermine science-based pest control programs.

“The Victorian Government already has the expertise it needs to control feral animals. What it needs to become more effective is a better budget, not advice from hunters.

“To limit risks that the new Victorian game authority will undermine feral animal control, it is vital that that its objectives include control and eradication of feral animals (including deer), that the governing body is not dominated by hunters, and that it remains under the control of government.

“Voluntary shooters can play a role in feral animal control, but only as part of properly managed and coordinated programs.

“The burgeoning populations of deer in Victoria demonstrates the failure of hunters in feral animal control.

“Hunters only ever kill a fraction of the yearly deer population increase and they deliberately avoid using the most effective methods, such as spotlighting at night, mostly visiting easily accessible areas.” Samba Deer, listed as a ‘key threatening process’ under Victoria’s threatened species legislation, heavily impacts on rainforests and endangered native plants. Yet there is no effective control program in place.

“Any benefits to the economy by having more deer and more deer hunters are lost when tallying the costs,” Mr Cox said. “These costs include the costs to landholders such as from land degradation and pasture and crop grazing, the cost of significant biodiversity loss and human costs from the increase in serious road accidents.”

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For comment

Andrew Cox, Invasive Species Council CEO – 0438 588 040.

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