FALLOW deer around the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo River corridors will be culled in an aerial shooting program over five days next month.
The cull, which follows ground-based deer control programs undertaken in previous years, will run from Monday, June 3, to Friday, June 7.
ACT Parks and Conservation’s invasive animal manager Oliver Orgill says there are significant emerging populations of fallow deer in Bullen Range, Woodstock and Lower Molonglo nature reserves.
He says ACT parks regularly undertake ground-based deer control programs with previous programs at Googong foreshores removing 430 deer since 2014, and 60 deer in sensitive areas in the Murrumbidgee river corridor since 2015.
“Deer are invasive hard-hoofed animals that are unnatural to our ACT landscape and have the potential to cause significant environmental and agricultural impacts,” Mr Orgill says.
“Rising deer populations are a major concern to land managers in the region and unless they are effectively controlled they will have serious impacts on the environmental values of our nature reserves and the productivity of the ACT’s agricultural land as they destroy young trees through antler rubbing and they eat native plants.
“There are three species of deer in the ACT – fallow, red and sambar – whose populations have been increasing over the last five to ten years. Fallow deer populations in our river corridors and surrounding areas are a priority concern.
“If these populations are left unmanaged, they will lead to the deterioration of riparian areas and will continue to add grazing pressure to farms already affected by extended dry conditions. They also have the potential to spread into our suburban areas and colonise urban reserves where they become harder to manage as well as pose a potential increased traffic risk.
“Aerial shooting as a control technique, when conducted by experienced operators, is considered a humane method by independent experts for controlling invasive animals, particularly large herbivores like deer.
“The operation will be undertaken by a team of experienced contractors overseen by the Parks and Conservation Service, and conducted in targeted areas that are rugged, inaccessible and not suitable for ground shooting.
“For public safety areas subject to control will be closed for the duration of the cull, warning signs advising of closures will be placed at all entry points to the reserves.”
The following sites will be closed from 6.30am, Monday, June 3, until 12pm Friday, June 7:
- Bullen Range nature reserve
- Lower Molonglo nature reserve
- Woodstock nature reserve
- Kambah Pool recreation area
- Centenary trail between Kambah Pool and Tuggeranong creek
- Murrumbidgee discovery trail between Kambah Pool and the Cotter
- Shepherd’s Lookout track
- Uriarra Loop track
- Georgio’s Sandwash track
- Tong’s Hole track
Further information is available from www.environment.act.gov.au.