Parks Victoria has commenced a three-year conservation program in the Grampians National Park to help protect the unique landscape.
Funded through a $1.8 million state government Biodiversity Response Planning grant, the program is focusing on improving the protection of irreplaceable Aboriginal cultural values and threatened vegetation by reducing populations of weeds, rabbits, deer and feral goats.
Nationally listed for its biodiversity and significant cultural heritage, the Grampians National Park is home to more than 800 indigenous plant species, a wide range of wildlife, an abundance of bird species, and the majority of Aboriginal rock art sites in south-east Australia.
Deer and feral goats will be controlled in a 47,000-hectare area over the next three years through an integrated program that will deploy professional and accredited volunteer shooters, Park Rangers, and professional aerial shooting crews. The program will be carried out under strict conditions designed to ensure safe, effective and humane practices.
During the conservation program, access to some sections of the national park, and also Black Range State Park, may be temporarily restricted for one to two days at a time, and people may hear gunshots.
Parks Victoria ranger team leader Mike Stevens said Parks Victoria regularly undertakes dedicated conservation programs, designed to contribute to habitat restoration or predator management across all its parks.
"In the Grampians National Park and Black Range State Park we are targeting deer and feral goats, which are threatening the amazing biodiversity of the landscape and impacting on important Aboriginal cultural sites," he said.
"The program will be carried out in some sections of the park under strictly controlled conditions. Unaffected sections of the park will remain open to the public.
"While some areas will be closed during control operations, with access points signposted and safety protocols in place, I encourage members of the public to contact Parks Victoria to check for any restrictions or changed conditions before heading into the park."
Any park restrictions will be clearly signposted at access points, with information about temporary closures available for visitors from the Brambuk visitor centre in Halls Gap, on the Parks Victoria website, and by calling 13 1963.
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