14 August, 2023

National plan to rein in feral deer welcome, but needs funding

The Federal Government released a National Feral Deer Action Plan on Monday to tackle the exploding numbers of feral deer across Australia.

National plan to rein in feral deer welcome, but needs funding - feature photo

The Invasive Species Council has warned that feral deer are on track to spread across the whole of Australia and severely damage world heritage areas unless significant funding is also committed by the Federal Government.

Invasive Species Council spokesperson Dr Tiana Pirtle said the release of this national feral deer action plan is a potential game changer in stopping the spread of one of the most concerning emerging invasive species in Australia.

“Decades of delays in a serious, co-ordinated effort to stem the tide of feral deer have allowed their numbers to explode tenfold up to potentially 2 million.  

“Feral deer are wreaking havoc on our environment and agriculture. They are now directly threatening our iconic World Heritage listed areas.

“The message from this plan is simple; if we do nothing to control feral deer then everybody loses, but if governments and landholders step up, we can stop the spread, reduce the negative impacts, and protect our precious places.

“While we welcome this step, we remain concerned that without significant new funding the plan’s ambitious goals will not be met. It is vital that ministers Plibersek and Watt step up and commit to work with the states to ensure the funding is made available to turn these plans into action.”

National Feral Deer Action Plan Committee chair Ted Rowley said the national plan will raise awareness of the serious threat posed by feral deer to the agricultural industry and environment.

“This plan recognises that governments and land managers need to work together now to stop the westward spread of feral deer, eradicate them where we still can, and protect our precious places and wildlife in areas where deer are already established,” Mr Rowley said.

Invasive Species Council officer Peter Jacobs said feral deer overgraze and trample native grasslands and ring-bark native shrubs and trees, they cause erosion and degrade water quality by wallowing in wetlands and streams, impacting the homes of native species like the platypus.

“As deer spread into urban areas, including Brisbane, they are threatening the lives of motorists, destroying gardens, contaminating critical water catchments and damaging the few remaining patches of urban bushland,” Mr Jacobs said.


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