Feral deer control in sights

Feral deer control in sights

Aerial shooting of feral deer from helicopters was undertaken last week on public and private land.

The Limestone Coast National Parks and Wildlife Service closed a number of parks and reserves to the public as they were contained within the area of focus for a feral deer control program. 

This program is managed by the Limestone Coast Landscape Board and occurred across multiple land tenures and ownerships within the Limestone Coast region.

There are 12 staff from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Landscapes board and contractors who help during the time the control program is run.

The control program takes a ‘whole of landscape approach’ to the eradication of feral deer and also aims to support private landholders to comply with their requirement to control feral deer on their properties. 

The program is therefore occurring across various land tenures which includes over 50 private land ownership participants so there are a number of people involved in the program. 

A Department of Environment and Water spokesperson said the long-term aim of the program was to remove feral deer from running uncontained within the Limestone Coast.

“Control of this species is outlined in pest management strategies developed by the Limestone Coast Landscape Board following community engagement,” the spokesperson said.   

“Closures of parks and reserves in the Limestone Coast apply over several days’ duration in both September and October whilst the aerial operation is occurring.  

“Park closures are enacted as a safety measure and to minimise disturbance whilst the aerial operation is occurring. 

“Careful consideration is given to the timing of stages of the aerial operation to minimise disruption to our visitors which means the work is occurring at times where there is lower visitation and parks are therefore open when the public usually visits such as weekends and on school holidays.”

“The control program has been running since 2009-10 and is well regarded by landholders who are concerned about the impacts of feral deer on the landscape and agricultural production. 

“Landholders are responsible for the eradication of feral deer on their properties under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019.”

The spokesperson said the Limestone Coast Landscape Board provides aerial and ground shooting programs to support landholders achieve their obligations to eradicate feral deer.

“The LC Landscape Board are committed to supporting landholders to protect our region from the impact of feral deer and by working together we can implement intensive feral deer control at the largest possible scale to ensure population knock down.

“The September 2021 program involved 57 private landholders (59,228 ha) and 22 DEW reserves (68,875 ha), covering approximately 4.2% of the Limestone Coast Landscape region.”

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