Protecting Australia’s unique fauna and flora is the ultimate aim of the conservation game, with scientific research vital in guiding successful wildlife management practices. There is no doubt that hunters support this evidence-based approach, as it helps to preserve the tradition of hunting for future generations.
As the largest group of recreational hunters in the country, the SSAA has thrown its support behind an important research project examining sambar deer and the movement of this species across Victoria’s High Country. SSAA National has generously committed $15,000 to fund the pilot project through Parks Victoria, with SSAA Victoria also committing $15,000.
Along with popular ski fields and resorts at Falls Creek and Mount Hotham, the Australian Alps are home to a variety of deer species, including sambar. This research project will focus on the movement of sambar in the Bogong High Plains area of the Alps across two years. Our funds will enable researchers to track up to eight male and female sambar. GPS collared deer will be captured and released back into the area.
Sambar have caused some issues for land managers in the Alps, with growing populations and increased deer activity affecting the sensitive alpine environment. Overgrazing, trampling and general land disturbance has been observed by rangers. However, little research into the non-native sambar has been conducted to date. This study aims to reveal sambar behaviour and movement in the Alps with the results used to guide how to best manage the species.
SSAA National President Geoff Jones said supporting this type of research project is important for all stakeholders involved, as it will help address the current information gap. “With many SSAA members being keen deer hunters, understanding how deer species like the sambar interact with their environment is vital,” he said. “The SSAA is always calling for decisions to be based on evidence, so we are pleased to be sponsoring Parks Victoria in this important research initiative, along with SSAA Victoria.”
SSAA Victoria President and National Vice President Denis Moroney said the strong financial position of the SSAA ensures we are well placed to support research that ultimately supports members’ activities. “We anticipate that this project will provide the facts and data we need to formulate sensible and fact-driven hunting regulations and control programs,” he said.
The study will later expand to look at sambar in New South Wales and the nation’s capital, to gain a broader understanding of this elusive deer species. The results of the Victorian study will be available to members upon completion.