Wild deer cause massive damage across the Alps and many other forested parts of south eastern Australia. The Victorian Government has accepted most of the recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry into the Control of Invasive Animals on Crown Land. Significantly, the government has acknowledged that recreational hunting is generally an ineffective means of invasive animal control and announced that feral cats will be declared pest animals on public land, allowing more effective control programs.
A statement from the responsible Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, is available here. The minister says that Government will also engage with traditional owners and Aboriginal groups to increase Aboriginal participation in biodiversity and land management. The following media statement comes from the Victorian National Parks Association.
In its response the government has committed to reducing the impact of deer on biodiversity in Victoria across all land tenures, using a range of management tools.
The government will also seek federal funding for research into effective deer control methods.
“Current estimates for Victoria’s feral deer population is around one million and they are having a considerable impact on many of our finest national parks, including rainforests, wetlands and alpine regions,” the Victorian National Parks Association’s Phil Ingamells said.
“This is a very welcome response from the government.”
Importantly the Victorian Government has acknowledged that recreational hunting is generally an ineffective means of invasive animal control.
While it supports Parks Victoria’s strategic control programs using skilled amateur shooters, the government says such programs should be in addition to funded programs using professional pest animal controllers.
In other key recommendations supported by the government:
- There will be complementary control programs between parks and private land.
- Amateur hunters will have access to meat processing facilities for personal consumption of deer.
- Feral cats will be declared pest animals on public land, allowing more effective control programs.
However, the Victorian Government has not supported a recommendation to allow amateur hunters access to more powerful firearms and noise suppressors (silencers) for public safety reasons.
“These recommendations recognise the important role our land managers must play to halt the fast-growing threat of feral animals in our natural areas,” Mr Ingamells said.
“We can no longer pretend recreational hunting is the solution.”