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Risk to wedge-tailed eagles raised in deer cull plan at Cattle Hill wind farm

Concerns have been raised over a planned deer cull at the Cattle Hill wind farm and its potential to heighten risk to wedge-tailed eagles.

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment recently issued crop protection permits for the property on which the wind farm is located.

A department spokeswoman said the permits authorised the taking of up to one hundred immature male fallow deer and an unspecified number of antlerless fallow deer on the property.

“We are advised that the landowner’s intention is that the deer will be shot by game hunters who will retrieve all carcasses, the meat used for personal consumption, and deer skeletons and offal will be buried in pits on the property,” she said.

Culling under the Hunting and Culling Management Plan needs approval from the state’s Environment Protection Authority which has granted approval.

Conditions relating to disposal of animals shot within 500 metres of a turbine are a requirement of the Environment Propections and Biodiversity Conservation Act for the wind farm to operate.

It is understood deer shot within 500 metres of a turbine must be disposed of in a pit but animals shot outside that range were not subject to the same requirements.

Greens environment spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff said the plan had the potential to put wedge-tailed eagles at greater risk of turbine strikes.

She said the pits should be covered immediately through having a dozer at hand and the 500-metre exclusion rule should be reviewed by an eagle expert.

“Those birds will certainly travel more than a kilometre for prey,” Dr Woodruff said.