Ministerial panel supports effective pest control

Forest & Bird is pleased that a ministerial panel has supported effective protection of the environment from damage by introduced browsing pests.

The ministerial advisory panel was set up to investigate the best means of controlling deer, thar, chamois and pigs in the wild, and today announced its recommendations.

Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says the panel’s recognition that conservation must remain a priority in managing these pest species is supported by Forest & Bird.

“Forest & Bird wants to see more hunting leading to healthier forests by helping reduce the number of pests. These pest animals wreak serious damage to our native forests, alpine areas and other indigenous habitats and the native species that live in them.”

“While hunting can contribute to pest control efforts, handing over management of pest control to hunters cannot effectively protect our wild places from introduced pests.”

The panel recognised that deer, chamois, thar and pigs had value as food and trophies for hunters, but did not accept proposals by some in the hunting lobby that these species should be afforded special legislative protection and status, or that pests should be managed under a statutory Hunter Management Authority.

“We encourage hunting as part of the solution to reduce pest numbers, but we have seen in the past that where authority over pest management has been handed to hunting groups, pest numbers have risen, causing serious damage to our native ecosystems and indigenous wildlife,” Kevin Hackwell says.

“We are pleased that the panel has recognised that hunter interests cannot be given priority, or allowed to compromise conservation values, and that there is no need for legislative change.”

[NB: Forest & Bird Otago/Southland Field Officer Sue Maturin is a member of the ministerial panel]