The Invasive Species Council have welcomed the announcement today by the South Australian Government of a detailed 10 year plan to eradicate feral deer from the state.
“This is fantastic leadership from the South Australian Government,” said Jack Gough, Advocacy Manager for the Invasive Species Council.
“No other state has shown this level of ambition or committed the funding and focus needed to eradicate feral deer. It would be a monumental achievement if they can get there and set a country-wide precedent.
“In NSW and Victoria, decades of delays in a serious, coordinated effort to stem the tide of feral deer have allowed their numbers to explode to up to 2 million so that eradication is no longer possible.
“South Australia still has a small window of opportunity to eradicate them before the numbers are out of control.
“It is great to see Primary Industries Minister Scriven and Environment Minister Close take up the challenge to protect our environment, agriculture and motorists.
“Feral deer are one of Australia’s worst emerging invasive species. They 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.”
“The next step must be for the South Australian Government to increase the funding to match their ambition.”
“To be successful the program needs at least $14 million over the 10 years with the majority of that front-ended. At this stage there is only $1.1 million per year allocated for 3 years, which is about $1.5 million short of what they need to achieve the initial knockdown targets set out in the Strategic Plan,” Mr Gough said.
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Background notes on the plan
- The Strategic Plan for the South Australian Feral Deer Eradication Program 2022-32 aims to eradicate feral deer from South Australia in 10-years.
- The current estimated population of feral deer in South Australia is 40,000, compared to between 1 and 2 million in NSW and Victoria.
- Population modelling indicates that the feral deer population in South Australia of 40,000 could increase to 208,000 within 10 years if management continues at current levels.
- In South Australia, feral deer are declared for destruction under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, meaning land managers are required to destroy all feral deer on their land.
- Independent analysis for the SA Government of the 10-year eradication program against business-as-usual management of feral deer indicates that the program will generate a net benefit to the community of $525 million over a 10-year period.
- Feral deer are found across about 40% of the agricultural parts of South Australia and the most common species in South Australia are fallow deer and red deer.
- To achieve eradication within a 10-year timeframe, a reduction target of 60-65% of the feral deer population per year is required for the first two years of the program. This is required to counter the natural rate of increase of feral deer populations (about 34% per year for fallow deer).
- After the first two years, between 38-55% population cull targets per year are required to achieve eradication by 2033.