1100 Deer and Pigs Killed In Aerial Cull At Budj Bim Cultural Site
Two weeks of aerial culling at Budj Bim cultural site has netted 1100 deer and pigs in one of the world's oldest aquaculture sites.
With the landscape yet to fully recover, Victoria's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is concerned about the impact feral pigs and deer are having on the site.
The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, which features an elaborate series of stone-lined channels and pools set up by the Gunditjmara people to harvest eels, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2019.
The ABC reported that traditional owners worked with the DELWP to map out a plan for the shoot, sharing their knowledge of culturally significant areas.
"The results from the shoot were better than expected," the department's biodiversity director James Todd said.
"I guess, perhaps alarmingly, it also indicates the number of animals that there might be out in those areas and in other native vegetation in western Victoria."
"We're still analysing the overall impact of the operation, but we're certainly hopeful that it's made a significant impact on the deer and feral pig population," Mr Todd said.
The dead animals are left in sit due to the inaccessibility of many parts of the landscape.
Mr Todd said killing the ferals – mainly fallow deer – would help protect culturally significant sites while allowing areas damaged by bushfires to regenerate unhindered.
"We actually had a couple of the local mob up in the chopper as part of reconnaissance," he said.
"They're able to direct the pilot and the shooters to where they were concerned about potential impacts from those introduced animals to culturally significant sites."
Mr Todd said the department would analyse its findings before committing to another shoot.
This highlights another breeding ground that is locked away from recreational hunting that could be utilised as one of the control measures to protect the delicate heritage of the park.