Ducks Unlimited
Sunday, 25 February 2018 09:37

Wild animal releases are illegal

Written by DIA
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It is illegal to release wild animals to ‘farm’ them for hunting at a later date.

The main potential consequences are breeding disruption and the spread of bovine tuberculosis to farmed animals and reduced local biodiversity.

Section 11 of the Wild Animal Control Act 1977 states:
Restrictions on liberation of wild animals

No person shall without the written authority of the Minister—
(a) capture or attempt to capture any wild animal, or convey or have in his possession any wild animal, for the purpose of liberating it or turning it at large; or
(b) liberate any wild animal or turn it at large or allow it to go at large.

Every person commits an offence against this Act who fails to comply with or acts in contravention of any of the provisions of this section, or of any regulations that relate to this section.”

The maximum penalty for an offense is two years imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000

Apart from the legal risks, there are also potential unintended consequences.
• Both pigs and deer can act as carriers of bovine Tb.
• Illegal release of animals to establish feral herds attracts poachers after wild animals in more ‘convenient’ locations.
• Illegal release of wild deer may corrupt local farmed deer genetics.
• Most keen hunters will not condone the release of deer to areas that are not in the designated feral range as specified in the deer farming notice. Trophy hunters don’t want hybrid animals (sika/red, wapiti/red, farm selected breeding animal/wild red.) when they are looking for genuine wild, species-specific trophy heads.
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