Promising signs of wildlife recovery in eastern Victoria

Tuesday 28 July, 2020

Parks Victoria continues feral animal control program

Native wildlife and unique flora severely impacted by the 2019-20 summer bushfires are being protected from a subsequent threat from feral animals, through a Parks Victoria conservation program. 

Since June 2020, Parks Victoria has been running a feral animal control program using aerial shooting, as part of the Victorian Government’s biodiversity bushfire response. This is a continuation of the post-fire emergency aerial shooting operation which began in February 2020. To-date more than 2,000 feral animals have been removed from high biodiversity-value locations across eastern Victoria.

Targeting feral animals at specific environmentally significant locations reduces damage to habitat and predator risk for vulnerable native species, giving them a greater chance of survival and recovery after the bushfires.

Aerial shooting is an appropriate, effective and humane method of control across large areas that are inaccessible due to fire damage. Only highly qualified pilots and shooters are used to deliver the operation. 

This program has been targeting pest predators (foxes and feral cats) and introduced herbivores (deer, goats, feral pigs). Feral horse control is not part of this program.

Though the program hasn’t yet concluded, there have been some promising results with one target animal removed every 2-minutes of flight time and helicopter crews reporting an increase in wallaby, kangaroo, wombat and native bird sightings within target areas.

This feral animal control program is part of a broader threat management program co-led by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Parks Victoria, to reduce the impact of feral animals and weeds in fire-affected areas. The program is being delivered by DELWP, Parks Victoria, Traditional Owners, catchment management authorities, Trust for Nature, Landcare and others. 

Delivery agencies are ensuring all activities comply with requirements set out by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding hygiene and physical distancing.

The threat management program is part of the Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery program, supported by a $17.5 million funding package from the Victorian Government. Further information on the Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery program can be found at the DELWP website

Quotes attributable to Phil Pegler, Manager Conservation Planning and Programs, Parks Victoria:
“We’re really pleased that the aerial shooting operation is providing much-needed relief to Victoria’s fire-impacted environments and native wildlife - helping habitats and species to recover from these major fires.”

“Burnt areas of bush and the native wildlife that live in them need all the help they can get. It’s critical after major fires that we support natural recovery any way we can, to knock down the heavy grazing and predation caused by animals not native to the Australian bush, such as deer, foxes and feral pigs. This program has given real protection to some of our most special wild places and wildlife.”


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Stephanie Zilles

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