Pests in crosshairs

FERAL animals will be watching their backs when shooters enter Passchendaele State Forest this weekend.

A pest management shoot on Saturday and Sunday will reduce animal damage to vegetation, soil, wildlife and surrounding agricultural activities.

Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing West Regional Operations executive director Jason Jacobi said NPRSR had a long-standing agreement with the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia to help with pest control on lands it managed.

"Consultation about this program was undertaken with neighbouring landholders, including those with nature refuges, who were having problems with feral animals," Mr Jacobi said. Bullecourt Boulder Bounders Orienteering Club event organiser Liz Bourne said there needed to be more community consultation.

"We use the forest all the time for events and practice runs and don't think there is a feral problem," she said.

Ms Bourne also expressed concern as the group was not formally notified and the forest also attracted tourists.

Mr Jacobi said there were procedures in place to ensure no one was injured.

"The forest will be closed to all public access during the program. Signs to this effect will be at all vehicle access points, and user groups have been advised," he said.

Mr Jacobi said pest management operations were assessedcase-by-case, and landholders and groups would be advised of future programs.

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