Port Macquarie residents are concerned for the welfare of endangered birds in Sea Acres Rainforest as feral deer begin devastating native vegetation.
The rainforest habitat at Shelly Beach has already lost much of its ground cover for native animals as 'feral bullsdozers' move in, according to long term resident Adam Roh.
"I moved to Port Macquarie when I was an eight-year-old and lived on Lighthouse Road. I've spent time in that rainforest as a kid and I've never seen the ground cover look so bare as it is now," Mr Roh said.
"These things get in there at night and stomp through it. We are lucky to have near-extinct Regent Bowerbird and Satin Bowerbirds but these deer are just reaching up and stripping their shrubs.
"The birds habitat is being destroyed and all the new growth is also being trampled."
It won't take much more damage and there will be no return to what it was.Adam Roh
The national park is listed as one of the largest and most intact areas of coastal rainforest in New South Wales. It houses vulnerable wildlife including the the Regent Bowerbird and Satin Bowerbird.
"I know deer have always been near the dam in town but this little strip of rainforest is so sensitive. But it won't take much more damage and there will be no return to what it was," Mr Roh said.
"They have been creeping this way for a long time. They have been seen on the beach at Lighthouse previously and I think the bushfires may have given them the extra push.
"As harsh as it sounds to cull them, the damage they're doing is not on. They are killing other animals habitats. They're like bulldozers when they get in there."
Port Macquarie motorists have previously called for a cull of wild deer in late 2019 after a series of dangerous traffic accidents around the town.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) spokesperson said Sea Acres National Park conserves one of the largest remaining littoral rainforests on the Australian east coast.
"NPWS are aware that a small number of deer have moved into Sea Acres National Park from surrounding land," they said.
"NPWS are currently working with stakeholders as part of the Hasting Wild Deer Working Group to implement a strategic and collaborative deer control program in this area.
"Feral deer destroy native flora by trampling plants, grazing on them and ringbarking young trees. Feral deer also cause soil erosion due to the impact of their hard hooves on sensitive ecological areas.
"NPWS have undertaken a substantial weed control program in Sea Acres National Park to rehabilitate and protect the littoral rainforest."
Deer have been frequently observed impacting on the recovery and regeneration of littoral rainforest and wetlands in Port Macquarie, according to the current Hastings Wild Deer Management Strategy 2016-2018.
Wild deer can alter the composition and structure of endangered ecological communities including Littoral Rainforest present in the Port Macquarie area. PMHC NPWS conducts representative monitoring of environmental assets in littoral rainforests, according to the 2016-2018 strategy.