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Whitetail deer Under Threat

Media Release

Whitetail deer Under Threat.

“The Game Animal Council, local hunters and landowners are concerned at a perceived decline in the number of Whitetail deer in the Glenorchy herd at the head of Lake Wakatipu” said Don Hammond Chairman of the Game Animal Council.

The Glenorchy herd of Whitetail deer is the only population outside of Stewart Island and is nationally significant in terms of its trophy value. The deer are confined basically to the Dart and Rees river catchments on both public and Private land.
Planned aerial 1080 poison operations targeting rats, stoats and other predators over 9000 hectares of the whitetail area could have a further impact deer numbers.

“Whitetail deer are a small and inquisitive animal that feed on a variety of plants and are well used to picking up items of food off the ground. As such they could be susceptible to aerially applied poison baits” said Don Hammond.

We requested that the Department of Conservation take a precautionary approach and use deer repellent on the poison baits but this request has been declined on the grounds of cost, time delays and DoC’s assessment of the risk to the herd. DoC does not feel that the operation will have any significant effect on deer numbers.

“A reduction in the amount of poison being laid will reduce the risk, but the problem is a lack of definitive information on what the effects will be” said Don Hammond.
The Game Animal Council and DoC are supporting a University post graduate study of the Glenorchy Whitetail deer population and we hope this study will provide better information on the herd including the effects of pest control activities on these animals.

The Game Animal Council strongly supports the need to protect our native birds by controlling predators and wishes to work constructively with all agencies to achieve this whilst at the same time minimising the effect of these operations on game animals.

“We are pleased that the Department of Conservation has agreed to consult the Game Animal Council over the planning of future pest control operations to see how we can minimise the impact on game animals” said Don Hammond.

The Game Animal Council is a Statutory Body created under the Game Animal Council Act 2013 and promotes “The sustainable management of game animals for recreation, commerce and conservation”.

ENDS

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