Joint media release: Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Deer Control Project a success

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water
The Hon Nick Duigan, Tasmanian Minister for Parks and Environment

The Walls of Jerusalem National Park will reopen today (3 June 2024) following completion of the second phase of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Deer Control Project.

Wild fallow deer are a threat to the natural values of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area as they damage soils, waterways and sensitive vegetation including the Miena Cider Gum.

Miena Cider Gum is an endangered species and browsing by animals including deer is a serious threat to its survival.

During this year’s operation, a further 306 deer were removed over 19 days. This brings the total number of deer removed from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area to 1,017 deer over 40 days.

The aerial program was assisted with 13 days of ground shooting by volunteers from the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia and the Australian Deer Association.

Tasmanian Minister for Parks and Environment, Nick Duigan, thanked the Parks and Wildlife Service staff involved, along with the volunteers.

“This is about working to protect our high conservation value areas. We know removing deer from these areas is critical to avoid damaging our World Heritage Area,” Minister Duigan said.

“This vital work protects the values of the TWWHA and our national parks to maintain those areas which are loved by Tasmanians and visitors and make Tasmania so special.

“Our 2030 Strong Plan for Tasmania’s Future ensures we continue to provide access for hunters in the deer management zone, and facilitate hunter access to private land to manage wildlife impacts.”

The area was closed to the public during the operation, which occurred across 110,000 hectares within the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and surrounding conservation areas.

The number of deer eradicated was higher than the initial population estimate, which aligns with experience in other jurisdictions that have undertaken similar projects.

Highly trained markspersons used thermal assisted cameras which enable more accurate detection and identification of deer in the landscape. This advanced technology increases the effectiveness of control efforts and ensures animal welfare is maintained.

Veterinarians involved in the program indicated that the lead free ammunition used this year was effective, had less impact on the environment and met all animal welfare requirements.

Federal Minister for Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek said the Australian Government is committed to protecting the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and leaving nature better off for our kids and grandkids.

“Feral and invasive species like deer cause enormous damage to our precious places and the plants and animals that call them home, including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

“The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is one of the largest conservation reserves in Australia and it is home to some of our most iconic native species including the platypus and the Tasmanian devil.

“Reducing the feral deer population will help protect native vegetation, prevent soil erosion, and improve water quality.

“I want to thank the staff and volunteers involved in this exercise,“ Minister Plibersek said.

Under the Tasmanian Wild Fallow Deer Management Plan, which sets the policy direction to manage deer for the period 2022 to 2027, the broad management objective for the zone encompassing the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is ‘no deer’.

The two-year project was supported by a $400,000 Australian Heritage Grant from the Federal Government plus additional financial and in-kind support from the Tasmanian Government.

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