26 September 2023

Pest control program to see parks close

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Some areas of the Territory’s parks and reserves are to be closed during the month ahead to keep visitors safe as the ACT Parks and Conservation Service commences another aerial pest control program.

Announced by Minister for Planning and Land Management, Mick Gentleman, the program follows successful aerial control efforts in 2021 and is to help manage the harmful impacts of feral animals such as pigs and deer on the environment.

“This aerial control operation is one of many programs that focuses on reducing the impact of invasive species on our environment,” Mr Gentleman said.

“Across our parks and reserves, feral pest animals like pigs and deer damage our threatened plant and animal species through grazing, antler rubbing, trampling, trail creation, ground disturbance and wallowing,” he said.

“This includes areas that are crucial to the ACT’s water supply, such as the Upper Cotter Catchment of Namadgi National Park.”

Mr Gentleman said Namadgi was still recovering from the 2019/2020 bushfire season, a recovery would continue for many years.

The Minister said the Territory’s approach to bushfire recovery was to facilitate natural regeneration.

“To give our threatened plants and animals the best chance of persisting throughout this ongoing recovery period, we need to control feral animal populations,” he said.

“As always, community safety is our priority.

“The ACT Parks and Conservation Service team will implement extensive safety precautions during the program, such as buffer zones, clear signage and sweeps before every shoot.”

Mr Gentleman said community members should not be alarmed by aircraft operating at the impacted areas.

He said animal welfare was also a priority, with control activities to be undertaken in accordance with best practice for humane control of feral animals.

“Park and reserve closures are staged, so there are still many areas of Namadgi, Canberra Nature Park and the river reserves open during this time.”

Mr Gentleman said the Service’s aerial control program would run until 3 June, with closures at Namadgi South until 20 May; Namadgi North from 16-25 May; Lower Cotter Catchment, 16-25 May; Murrumbidgee River Corridor, 23-29 May; Molonglo, 23-29 May; and Googong from 23 May to 3 June, but open on weekends.

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