The South Australian Forest Products Association (SAFPA) has praised the successful joint venture of the Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) and the Limestone Coast Landscape Board’s feral deer culling program. This initiative, they claim, will offer substantial benefits to all agricultural sectors.
Forestry in South Australia is a critical industry, contributing nearly $3 billion to the gross state product and directly or indirectly supporting over 21,000 jobs. According to Nathan Paine, SAFPA CEO, these jobs are vulnerable due to pests like feral deer, making the culling program of utmost importance. Paine stated, “and those jobs are put at risk by pests such as feral deer which makes the aerial culling program so critical.”
Paine also pointed out the significant risk pests like feral deer pose to the industry after wildfire and drought. “After fire and drought, pests such as feral deer have the potential to significantly hurt the industry from destroying seedlings through to damaging the trees in the forest,” he said.
The recent expansion of the aerial shooting initiative into the Green Triangle forestry estate, a first for the program, was also discussed by Paine. He revealed, “The aerial shooting program was extended south into the Green Triangle forestry estate for the first time and removed 655 feral deer in less than two weeks.”
With the addition of the Limestone Coast Landscape Board’s professional ground shooting efforts, these combined initiatives have removed 1429 feral deer from the southern forestry estate in less than a year. This achievement, Paine pointed out, “has a significant benefit to the industry.”
Reflecting on the critical timber shortages during the Covid period, Paine emphasized ensuring every planted seedling’s survival. “We only have to look at the critical timber shortages throughout the Covid period to understand the importance of sovereign capability… we need to ensure every seedling we plant has the best chance to grow into a tree that can contribute to fibre supply.”
Paine concluded his remarks by commending the board for its dedication to the aerial culling program, stating, “Programs such as the PIRSA -Limestone Coast Landscape Board’s aerial culling program are critical to ensuring future fibre supply by removing pest animals from the estate and we strongly congratulate the board for its commitment to this program.”