Deer Trapping Trial On Mid North Coast - Feeds Local Big Cats

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North Coast LLS

Local Land Services continue their war on deer, and this time it's in the way of a trapping trial in Port Maquarie on the NSW Mid North Coast.

LLS invasive pests team leader Dean Chamberlin said deer were becoming widespread across the region. "When there are a few deer about everybody is quite happy," he said.

"It's nice to have one or two or a few run around, but suddenly there are 20, 30 or 40 creating problems.

"We've got deer around Port Macquarie, Bowraville, Coffs Harbour and south of Grafton in different patches."

"We're basically using panel traps, which are just like stock panels, so they're a bit over 2 metres high and 2 metres long, covered in cloth so that the deer can't actually see through them and then we've got an automatic gate system that traps the deer," Mr Chamberlin said.

Open traps that are 40-metres in dimestion are set to entice the deer in areas where they are known to feed and congregate. A G3 camera monitors the trap and triggers when activated by movement, sending photos to LLS in real time.

"The trial is based on similar successful programs in New South Wales and Queensland and adapted to suit the local region," Mr Chamberlin said.

The ABC reported Mr Chamberlin said once the deer were killed their carcasses were given to Billabong Zoo Koala and Wildlife Park as animal feed.

"They're culled using thermal and suppressive firearms and any deer that we cull from Port Macquarie actually goes to Billabong Zoo for their big cats," he said.

Billabong Zoo owner Mark Stone said it was disappointing to see feral deer culled, but they would rather use their carcasses than let them go to waste.

"At the end of the day, to see mistakes that man has made, that has created this problem is obviously very sad," he said.

"But it's better than the meat going down a hole."

The deer are fed to the zoo's big cats, saving the park a few dollars in the process.

"It helps on the dollars and cents side of things, but it also creates a bit more work on our side preparing it," Mr Stone said.

"After going through the whole COVID side of things and being closed for three months, any way you can save a dollar without cutting corners is certainly a help."

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