Originally published by abc.net.au
Conservation authorities and rangers are considering the best way to remove a herd of feral deer caught on camera grazing near Canberra's Namadgi National Park.
The herd of about 12 was filmed in the Murrumbidgee River Corridor last year by a remote camera.
Director of ACT Parks and Conservation Daniel Iglesias told 666 ABC Canberra the deer numbers appeared small, but rangers did not want them to spread.
“Deer in the urban environment are bad news,” he said.
“In North America they cause all sorts of problems, not only on the environment but in car collisions as they are much more dangerous than kangaroos.
“It's because most of their weight is much higher, when they go through a windscreen.”
Feral deer are known to trample or eat native vegetation, spread weeds and cause soil erosion in sensitive environments.
Mr Iglesias said park managers were considering the best way to remove the deer.
“We are seeing them in areas we have never seen them before,” he said.
“So what we are doing is trying to suss out where they are, and trying to be very specific about our control because we don't want them spreading.”
Government should allow park hunting: Sporting Shooters' Association
The ACT branch of the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia (SSAA) said the ACT Government should consider allowing hunting in national parks to control the feral deer.
SSAA president David True said the deer sighting was only the tip of the iceberg and members of the association were keen to assist control numbers of feral animals.
“There would be literally hundreds if not more,” he said.
“They are hard hoofed animals, they do damage to the environment, they eat plants and I am sure they would have a program.
“Obviously we would always be willing to offer assistance with our hunting programs or trained people to assist if they required that assistance.”
But a national conservation group warned that efforts to control feral deer in the ACT had been thwarted by inconsistent interstate policies.
Dr Carol Booth, from the Invasive Species Council, said the partial protection of deer across the border in New South Wales was confusing.
“One of the major contradictions in NSW is that while deer are protected for hunters, they are also recognised by the government as a key threatening process,” she said.
“So the environment and agriculture are bearing the cost of this pandering to hunters.”
Meanwhile, the number of complaints about foxes and rabbits in ACT parkland has increased since Spring.
Last week expert Brian Cooke warned more action was needed to prevent rabbits from moving further into urban areas around Canberra.
Mr Iglesias said feral animals were the bane of every park management service in the country.
“Purely from their number and their impact, feral foxes and rabbits are the worst,” he said
“With foxes it's a very difficult one because they can breed, have their young in someone's backyard without you even knowing it, particularly if your backyard is overgrown and there's a good food supply.
“Our response to people is to put pressure on them, don't give them habitat or food, so they have to stay in the bush.”
Authorities use 1080 poison bait in bushland areas, but not in urban areas where domestic dogs could eat the tainted meat.