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Deer control saving native vegetation and habitat in Dandenong Ranges and Yellingbo NCR

Friday 8 June, 2018

A deer control program is resuming in June to reduce the impact of deer across the Dandenong Ranges National Park, Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve and Warramate Hills Nature Conservation Reserve.

The program, now in its fifth year, will recommence at the start of June 2018 and is a partnership between Parks Victoria, Australian Deer Association and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia and is supported by local friends groups and Zoos Victoria.

The primary objective of the program is to reduce the impacts of deer on the environment, this will lead to the recovery of native plant species and improved habitat for native animals.

The impacts of deer are being felt by endangered species such as the Leadbeater’s Possum and the Helmeted Honeyeater whose habitat is damaged when Sambar and Fallow Deer thrash their antlers on trees.

Safety is of utmost importance to Parks Victoria and the program is conducted under strict supervision following comprehensive safety procedures.

Highly skilled, accredited and authorised volunteer members of the Australian Deer Association and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia will conduct the deer removal under very strict conditions, consistent with animal welfare standards, and in the interests of public safety.

The affected parks will be closed for public safety during operations with signs displayed at all formal entrance points. Deer control operations will also not be conducted on peak visitor days such as weekends, public holidays or during school holiday periods.

Parks Victoria has a renewed Authority To Control Wildlife Permit which permits up to 220 deer to be removed this year.

76 deer were culled as part of last year’s Deer Control Program. A total of 312 deer have been culled since the program commenced in 2014.

For more information and details of park closures visit or call 13 1963.

Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria, A/District Manager, Georgia Kerr:

“Deer are an introduced species and are having impacts on native vegetation and biodiversity in the Dandenong Ranges, Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve and Warramate Hills Nature Conservation Reserve.”

“Parks Victoria is very happy with the progress to date. There is still some evidence of deer within the parks, but we are seeing positive signs of vegetation and habitat recovery in areas that have previously been impacted by deer activity.”  

“It’s important to continue reducing the damage deer are causing to the vegetation and biodiversity of our parks.”

Quotes attributable to Dr Dan Harley, Zoos Victoria:

Dr Dan Harley from Zoos Victoria has been studying the last lowland population of Leadbeater’s Possum at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve for 20 years.

“The Leadbeater’s Possum population has declined to just 40 individuals and habitat restoration is the key to saving the species at this site. Minimising the impact of deer browsing on revegetation will be critical for success.”

Quotes attributable to Alex Maisey, Sherbrooke Lyrebird Survey Group:

“The results of the deer control over the past 4 years have been very encouraging. Many of the previously active wallows are no longer used, natural regeneration of vegetation is widespread and erosion along the banks of Monbulk Creek appears to have stabilised.”

Quotes attributable to Alan Clayton, A/President of Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater:

“The destructive activity of deer has resulted in significant loss of natural habitat and a considerable impact upon revegetation efforts.  This has adversely affected the recovery programs for both the Helmeted Honeyeater and lowland Leadbeater’s possum.”  

“We have seen promising results from the earlier deer control initiatives and regard an ongoing program of control as essential for the recovery strategy for two of Victoria’s critically endangered species, which are in fact, the State’s avian and faunal emblems.”

Quotes attributable to Barry Howlett, Executive Officer, Australian Deer Association:  

“Hunters are typically naturalists and have a wide range of skills that can benefit the community. We are delighted to be able to use our hunting and bushcraft skills to achieve clear conservation objectives.”

Media enquiries
Jarred Parsons
8427 2403

Parks Victoria media centre