Friday, July 1, 2022

Feral pests targeted

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Gabrielle Duykers, Naracoorte Community News

The region’s landscape board is hoping to minimise the feral deer population with the help of a cash injection from the Federal Government.

The Limestone Coast Landscape Board (LCLB) has received $344,000 to build on its existing deer control initiatives through the Supporting Communities Manage Pests and Weeds program.

L-R Limestone Coast Landscape Board feral deer control project officer Aiden Laslett, Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin, Limestone Coast Landscape Board chair Penny Schultz, and Helifarm pilot Finn Blackhall. Photo Naracoorte Community News

LCLB chair Penny Schulz said the funds would allow the Board to reduce the impacts of feral deer on threatened species, with protecting the malleefowl population being a key focus.

“Deer pose a serious threat to malleefowl by damaging nesting mounds, competing for food resources, and disturbing habitat,” Ms Schulz said.

Malleefowl is a ground-dwelling, mound-nesting bird listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Ms Schulz said malleefowl habitat would be targeted for feral deer removal.

The control program will involve Helifarm pilots flying trained shooters through the relevant or affected areas and using thermal imaging technology to spot the deer.

“This investment will deliver threat abatement and habitat restoration benefits to malleefowl,” Ms Schulz said.

In the 2020/2021 financial year the LCLB removed more than 1900 deer from across the region, with assistance from local landholders.

The Board has now eliminated more than 13,000 deer since its control programs began in 2009.

Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said feral deer were a “huge issue” for the environment and land managers in the Limestone Coast. 

“Deer pose a real risk to threatened plant species, particularly as young plants are trying to regrow after bushfire impacts,” Mr Pasin said. 

“Feral deer also wreak havoc for farmers and primary producers in the region, competing with stock for pasture and crops, damaging fences and destroying vineyards.”

Mr Pasin said the species could even enganger local “biosecurity” due to their ability to harbour and spread plant diseases.

PIRSA will also receive $2 million from the Federal Government to undertake deer control across the state, with the Limestone Coast, Adelaide Hills, and Fleurieu identified as “priority regions”.

Naracoorte Community News 1 June 2022

This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News

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