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Deer repellent bait will take money from nature

Deer repellent bait will take money from saving nature

The decision of Conservation Minister Chris Carter to allow the use of deer repellent bait on public conservation land is putting pests before forests warns Forest and Bird.

“The job of the Department of Conservation is to protect native forests, not the pests that destroy them,” said Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager Kevin Hackwell.

“The extra money required to pay for deer repellent will take money from other vital work to save threatened species and their habitats,” he said.

“Unless deer numbers are controlled to very low levels, forests do not recover from damage caused. The Kaweka Ranges, which contain one of the areas where deer repellent bait will be used, have been severely degraded by deer,” he said.

“High altitude forests in the Kaweka Ranges are disappearing as old trees die off and deer eat up all the seedlings. Intensive efforts by recreational hunters have not stemmed the decline, professional aerial control is the only thing that works. Department of Conservation aerial control in the Kawekas has proven to be effective and has reduced numbers by sixty percent in four years,” he said.

“Forest and Bird has no objection to recreational hunting, every bit of effort to reduce pest numbers helps. But the Government and hunters need to be realistic about the contribution of recreational hunting to conservation,” he said.

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