After a six-week suspension due to safety concerns, the shooting of pest species in New South Wales national parks is to resume again.
A ban was initially implemented on September 16 after a caller to a Sydney radio station complained about unsafe aerial culling in the Kosciuszko National Park.
Head of National Parks and Wildlife Atticus Fleming told the ABC that a subsequent report on the incident found ‘a couple of hikers were reported underneath a helicopter’ while culling of deer was taking place.
Mr Fleming said they have accepted a number of recommendations to prevent that occurring in the future.
“There were things we needed to do a little better around notifications, signage and the closure of these parks to avoid people being in a position where they are interacting with our operations,” he told the ABC.
Mr Fleming said the halt to operations has not had an impact on pest management.
“A short selective pause for six weeks is not having an impact on our program but if something goes wrong and we have to close down for a lot longer, that will impact the program,” he said. “I don’t think any reasonable person thinks we are going to either win the war in six weeks or lose that war in six weeks.”
However, the ban prompted a backlash from farmers and conservation groups who believe the ‘damage may already have been done in terms of pest management.
The Invasive Species Council’s Jack Gough told the ABC the ban had been a disaster for feral animal control.
“We know that pest numbers are exploding; they respond to environmental conditions, and they are breeding right now across the state,” he said. “It makes no sense to me that one incident south of Jindabyne six months ago stopped the shooting of feral pigs in the central west of New South Wales.”
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