The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) yesterday ordered the quarantine of all deer, elk and exotic sheep on two hunting preserves owned by a Mr. Peter Bubalo in Hardyston Township and Sparta in Sussex County for having imported deer from out of state without a required permit.

The DEP permitting process ensures that all wildlife brought into New Jersey have been certified by veterinarians as healthy and disease free. By failing to follow the permitting process, protective safeguards have been circumvented. In addition, there is currently a ban on the importation of deer and other cervids from out of state. This ban protects New Jersey’s deer population from infection from chronic wasting disease, which has been rampant in a number of western states.

“The quarantine is necessary to allow a thorough investigation of the situation and assess potential health risks to other wildlife, particularly wild deer,” said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. “While there are no apparent risks to public health, we are very concerned that this lawbreaker may have put the health of New Jersey’s deer and other cervids at potential risk of chronic wasting disease.”

DEP has inspected both hunting preserves and determined that perimeter fencing is intact. There are approximately 70 to 110 deer in the preserve, and a number of elk and exotic sheep. The quarantine prohibits Mr. Bubalo from selling, or offering to sell, or permitting the hunting of any of the wildlife on either of the preserves until further notice.

The illegal importation was discovered during a routine DEP inspection of the hunting preserves. A citation was issued to Mr. Bubalo, the owner, for lack of written records and failure to obtain appropriate permits.

The hunting preserves are located at Route 94, South Hardyston Township and at 84 Skyline Drive in Sparta.

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