National park closes while feral animals are shot

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Feral animals
The wild deer population has exploded, destroying crops in the Ballandean region. PIC: Warwick Daily News/Contributed

The presence of large numbers of feral animals at Sundown National Park on the Queensland–New South Wales border has forced the authorities to act.

The remote park south-west of Stanthorpe will be closed until June 11 as accredited aerial marksmen in helicopters seek to control populations of foxes, deer, feral pigs and feral goats.

The Warwick Daily News reports that the operation is being conducted by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services in conjunction with the Southern Downs Regional Council.

“Removing feral animals from adjoining properties has led to a reduction in feral animals dispersing or relocating back onto Sundown National Park,” a QPWS spokeswoman said.

Annual shoots have been conducted since 2001.

Local capsicum farmer Sam Ricca said the more people that shoot the deer the better, as populations have been exploding and causing large-scale destruction to crops.

“You probably see more deer out this way than kangaroos and they are breeding at a phenomenal rate,” he told the Warwick Daily News. “They are coming right up to the house at night coming up and eating the grass and they are coming in numbers.”

Last week, Mr Ricca shot nine deer within a kilometre of his house.

In large packs, deer devour crops and ravage plants with their movements.

Sundown National Park – with its dramatic landscape of sheer-sided gorges, tree-lined ridges and peaks rising over the Severn River – is popular with campers, bushwalkers and wildlife spotters.

  • Which feral species have you most come into contact on your trips? Comment below.

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