ACT reserves reopen following Spring vertebrate pest control program

All areas of the Murrumbidgee River Corridor and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve are open to the public after the completion of the vertebrate pest control program earlier this month.

Executive Branch Manager, ACT Parks and Conservation Service Stephen Alegria said feral pigs and deer were targeted during the Spring control program that was delivered using a helicopter fitted with thermal imaging equipment.

“The spring program was highly successful to address an increase in pest animal populations within short distances of urban areas due in part to recent seasonal and environmental conditions,” Mr Alegria said.

“Aerial shooting with thermal imaging equipment allows the safety and efficient removal of vertebrate pest species that threat the ACT’s high value conservation areas and the grassy ecosystems and native threatened species within.

“Pest species cause significant damage to our ACT parks and reserves through antler rubbing, trampling, and wallowing and browsing of sensitive native vegetation. The repeated delivery of vertebrate pest control programs is having a positive effect by placing ongoing downward pressure on these vertebrate pests.”

The Spring vertebrate pest control program removed 138 feral deer and 263 feral pigs between 16 and 23 September from areas within the Murrumbidgee River Corridor and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve including Sherwood Forest, Swamp Creek, Stony Creek Nature Reserve, Bullen Range Nature Reserve, Roby Roy Nature Reserve and Gigerline Nature Reserve.

“The broader pest animal control program has achieved excellent results this year, removing over 1,000 pest animals from our parks and reserves and surrounding rural land, including feral deer, pigs, and goats.

“All control activities are conducted in accordance with best practice and codes of practice for the humane control of feral animals.”

The pest animal control program is primarily funded by the ACT Government’s Strengthening Biosecurity initiative, with support from the Australian Government’s ‘Supporting Communities Manage Pest Animals and Weeds’ program.

“I again acknowledge and thank the valued assistance of ACT rural property lessees adjacent to the Murrumbidgee River Corridor who permitted the vertebrate pest control program to be extended into their property. This is an important step towards an integrated approach to managing vertebrate pest animals.”

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