Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service is undertaking a wild fallow deer control project within the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and the western section of the Central Plateau Conservation Area in May 2023 and May 2024.
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) Deer Control Project aims to remove wild fallow deer from within the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and reduce the population within the adjoining Central Plateau Conservation Area while numbers are still low.
The project is an aerial shooting program from a helicopter using thermal technology. This method is currently being used in several mainland jurisdictions with great success, however this is the first time it will be used in Tasmania.
The control area will be closed to all users from Monday, 1 May - Sunday, 4 June 2023; and from Monday, 29 April – Friday, 2 June 2024.
The deer control area includes the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and the adjoining western section Central Plateau Conservation Area west of Highland Lakes Road and north of Marlborough Rd and Lyell Highway. Tracks that start within the Meander Conservation Area and Great Western Tiers Conservation Area west of Highland Lakes Road are included in the control area.
Wild fallow deer are a threat to the natural values of the TWWHA. Deer erode and damage soils and waterways, trample sensitive plant communities, browse at a level above native animals as well as eating different plants. In large numbers, deer can substantially modify the ecosystems in which they live. Fallow deer can also be vectors of animal diseases and spread plant pathogens.
Thermal assisted aerial control differs from conventional aerial shooting methods in that operations are guided by a manual operator using a high-quality thermal imager and daylight visible laser.
In any animal control operation, preventing the animal suffering is always the highest priority. To ensure this goal is achieved, only highly trained and experienced Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE Tas) staff will undertake aerial shooting operations. A qualified veterinarian will be employed to independently oversee the operations.
Current estimates indicate that there may be between 100 and 300 deer within the project area.
All deer shot will be left in situ unless the carcasses pose a social, health or environmental risk. Carcasses will be removed from watercourses, near reserve and hydro infrastructure (walking tracks, huts, campgrounds) and close to roads and vehicle tracks, all other carcasses will be left to decompose.
Operational deployments are scheduled for May 2023 and May 2024. May has been selected as the best month for undertaking the operation due to favourable weather conditions and minimising impact on recreational users and wildlife.
May is the end of the rut with deer still in groups and trying to fatten up prior to the start of winter. It is after the end of the brown trout recreational fishing season, which closes on 30 April, and before the Wedge-tailed eagle breeding season commences in June.
Autumn weather is generally more stable for aerial shooting operations and recreational use tends to decrease after Easter.
More detailed information is available in the FAQs document;
Deer Control Project FAQs 2023-2024 (PDF 376Kb)
Walking track closures
All walking tracks that access the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and Central Plateau Conservation Area, either by commencing within the reserves or by accessing through adjacent private land and other reserves, will be closed during the operational deployments.
Tracks that commence in the Great Western Tiers Conservation Area, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park or Meander Conservation Area, or on private land such as Gowan Brae, that have a destination or terminate within the closure area will also be closed.
During the operational deployment, the closed tracks include but are not limited to:
All tracks in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park
The Never Never Track
Blue Peaks Track
Explorer Creek Track
Western Creek Track
Mother Cummings Track
All Meander Falls Precinct Tracks
Projection Bluff Track
Double Lagoon Track
Lake Kay Track
Lake Flora and Odell Track
Little Blue Lake and Tin Hut Track
Lake Fanny Track
Lake Antimony Track
Olive Lagoon Track
Lake Naomi Track
Clarence Lagoon Track
Broken Leg Creek Track
Open nearby walking tracks
The following tracks are outside the control area and will remain open during the project period.
- Devils Gullet Track
- Arm River Track
- Lees Paddocks Track
- Westmorland Falls Track
- Parsons Track
- Yeats Track
- Western Bluff Track
- Pine Lake Nature Trail
Clarence Lagoon Vehicle Track, Walls of Jerusalem National Park Main Access Road, Lake Augusta Road and Pillan's and Talinah Tracks will be closed.
The reserves will be closed in accordance with Regulation 18 of the National Parks and Reserve Management Regulations 2019, ensuring that officers have appropriate authority to lawfully manage access into the reserves. Daily checks will be undertaken to ensure compliance with the closure and breaches will be investigated.
At the conclusion of each deployment the University of Tasmania and NRE Tas Conservation Science Section will review the success of the project in relation to the project goals. By the end of the second year, a monitoring program to assist in detecting remigration of wild fallow deer back into the Walls of Jerusalem National Park will be developed.
For more information about the management of wild falllow deer in Tasmania see Wild Fallow Deer Management Plan on the NRE Tas website.
For enquiries please contact PWS Deer Project Officer