Aerial Deer Culling Scheduled for Royal National Park

NSW National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS) have scheduled aerial deer culling in the Royal National Park.

Why Are Deers Culled?

Deer are not native to Australia and are considered a feral pest. In 1906 rusa deer from Indonesia were introduced in the Royal National Park for exhibition purposes. The deer were acquired from a shipment bound for New Zealand from New Caledonia, and initially, seven Rusa deer were released into a fenced area known as Deer Park.

However, the deer soon escaped from this enclosure and have been breeding uncontrollably ever since. Over the years, their population has increased significantly, reaching several thousand. The presence of these deer has had various impacts on the park’s ecosystem, including concerns about their effect on native vegetation, which led to a preliminary determination of feral deer as a Key Threatening Process under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

Efforts to manage the deer population have included research on impacts on biodiversity, fertility control studies, and various control techniques such as non-commercial hunting, trapping and relocating, baiting, fencing, ground shooting, and aerial shooting. The management of the deer population in the Royal National Park continues to be a significant environmental and conservation issue.

Aerial Culling Scheduled

NPWS will be conducting an aerial shooting deer management program from Monday 29 April 8:50am to Thursday 2 May 2024 8:00pm.

The following areas will be closed to the public during this time:

  • East of Lady Wakehurst Drive, Sir Bertram Stevens Drive and Bundeena Drive
  • Bundeena to Otford.
  • Coast Track including Jibbon Loop Track

While deer culling around Bundeena is not unusual it tends to occur at night by ground based snipers.  With aerial culling a sniper is aboard the helicopter and shoots deer below which were being tracked by thermal imaging.

The last time an aerial culling was performed near Bundeena in 2022 it came as a surprise to most residents who woke up to the sounds of gun fire.

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