Balancing wildlife numbers and sustainable farming

09 June 2023

Wildlife management in Tasmania has garnered significant attention in recent weeks, becoming a pressing topic for discussion. For Tasmanian farmers and landholders, it has become an ongoing daily challenge as wildlife numbers surge, imposing a severe financial strain.

Property Protection Permits: A crucial tool in wildlife management.

There are many tools in a farmer's kit to manage wildlife numbers, and one of those is a Property Protection Permit, issued by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Property Protection Permits play a crucial role in safeguarding crops, pastures, and farm forests. When permits are issued they undergo rigorous scrutiny, and the process is backed by evidence and science, to ensure effective wildlife control.

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Landowners must demonstrate their implementation of control measures, including controlled culling and game-proof fencing on issuance. The process is well monitored, and accountability is maintained through publicly accessible records.

The financial impacts of unmanaged wildlife

The financial consequence of not managing wildlife numbers is staggering and highlights that without proper wildlife management farmers would have to foot the bill for damages that already exceed $20 million annually.

The startling example of over 700 fallow deer culled in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, double the anticipated number, underscores the pressing need to address the escalating wildlife population in Tasmania.

Farmers are Custodians

Farmers serve as custodians of the land and better than anyone else understand the enormity of the problem. Our members acknowledge the need to control the population, however, they also express their reluctance for culling wildlife.

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At great cost, game-proof fencing has emerged as another essential tool for farmers to protect pastures and crops. This investment ranges from $10,000 to $15,000 per kilometre for game-proof fencing and up to $30,000 for deer-specific fencing. This is a significant investment but delivers tangible benefits, with improved pasture and grazing capacity.

Maintenance challenges are ongoing

Even though we have seen great advancement in fencing technology, the ongoing maintenance cost is never ending due to the persistent intrusion of wildlife. The challenge is exacerbated where farmland is adjacent to Public or Crown Land, and regulatory hurdles exacerbate the control of vegetation and fencing maintenance.

Farmers bear the responsibility and financial burden of managing wildlife populations, despite lacking legal ownership or responsibility, which lies with the Crown.

Supporting the Agriculture sector's needs

The TFGA believes it is imperative that the state's wildlife is effectively and humanely managed to reduce the pressure being borne by farmers. The complexities of regulation also need to be reduced, and more support needs to be given to farmers to achieve a balanced approach.

Striking the balance

Balancing wildlife management and agricultural output is a daily issue for Tasmanian Farmers. As the wildlife population continues to grow, so does the financial burden intensify for farmers. By recognising the importance of Property Protection Permits, and the continued investment in fencing Tasmania can strike the right balance between wildlife conservation and sustainable farming.

We provide a united voice

As the largest advocacy group in Tasmania and the only one that focuses exclusively on farming and the rural sector, the future of Tasmanian agriculture is our focus.

Join the TFGA today for a greater future.

Contact our Membership Manager

Kellie Morris