Agriculture

Australia’s largest research collaboration established to tackle feral deer

Deer trample protected plants, muddy areas used by native frogs as homes, and ring bark trees by rubbing their antlers against them. This image shows severe defoliation of a paperbark tree from this red deer and its antlers. Image taken by James Gummer in WA.
Deer trample protected plants, muddy areas used by native frogs as homes, and ring bark trees by rubbing their antlers against them. This image shows severe defoliation of a paperbark tree from this red deer and its antlers. Image taken by James Gummer in WA.

To tackle the escalating threat of feral deer, the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions has brought together five state and territory governments, three local councils, three universities, and three private environmental groups, to form Australia’s largest deer management research collaboration.

Worth a combined investment of $8.7 million, including $3.2 million of direct funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the collaboration will work on four innovative projects to develop best practice management feral deer toolkits and better understand the role of feral deer in the transmission of disease to livestock, including Foot and Mouth Disease.

However, feral deer are not just a rural problem and one project will be specifically looking at developing management strategies for feral deer in peri-urban areas also.

Deer are growing concern for many farmers in Australia - it doesn't take much for this Rusa Deer to duck under a wire fence. Image taken by Ian Lackington in QLD

Deer are growing concern for many farmers in Australia – it doesn’t take much for this Rusa Deer to duck under a wire fence. Image taken by Ian Lackington in QLD

Andreas Glanznig, CEO of the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions said that this large-scale collaboration was formed off the back of a National Workshop on Deer Management held in late 2016.

“The workshop identified a number of knowledge and innovation priorities that must be addressed to more effectively manage this emerging national issue.

“This collaboration underscores the important role of the Centre in fostering nationally coordinated approaches to developing better solutions for invasive species problems,” Mr Glanznig said.

Danny Picker, farmer and President of the Australian Superfine Woolgrowers’ Association has voiced his support for this collaboration.

“There are six known species of feral deer in Australia, and all states and territories have at least one of these species – it truly is a national issue, which requires this national collaboration to find the answers.

“We are hearing more and more of the damage deer are doing to our agricultural sector and the environment, not just in rural areas but in urban areas too.

“Through this collaboration, we have a real chance to tackle feral deer before they do any more significant damage and the problem becomes out of control,” Mr Picker said.

The four strategic deer projects have started and over the coming years the Centre will provide land managers with the research outcomes, which will enhance best practice management of feral deer in Australia.

Two male red deer taken near Wellington's Curra Curra creek, taken by Peter Tremain in NSW

Two male red deer taken near Wellington’s Curra Curra creek, taken by Peter Tremain in NSW

To find out more visit www.invasives.com.au

Quick facts:
The research collaboration was formed off the back of a National Workshop on Deer Management held in 2016 involving all major stakeholders in deer research and management.

The research collaboration is worth a combined investment of $8.7 million focused on four innovative projects

Cost-effective management of wild deer (led through NSW)
The role of wild deer in the transmission of diseases to livestock (led through Victoria)
Management of wild dog and deer in per-urban landscapes: strategies for safe communities (led through QLD)
Feral deer aggregator (led through SA)

The research collaboration includes research and management experts from the following parties:

Five state and territory governments encompassing eight agencies:

  • ACT Parks and Conservation Service
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI)
  • NSW Local Land Services (NSW LLS)
  • QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA)
  • SA Department for Environment and Water (SA DEW)
  • Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)
  • Victorian Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARI)

Three local and regional councils:

  • Brisbane City Council
  • Charters Towers Regional Council
  • Sunshine Coast Regional Council

Three universities:

  • University of Canberra
  • Griffith University
  • LaTrobe University

Three private environmental related groups:

  • Ecotone Wildlife Vet Services
  • eSYS Development Pty Ltd
  • Tasmanian Land Conservancy

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