A new community network has been created to help tackle the growing impacts of feral deer on Victoria’s farming communities and natural environment.
“Feral deer have become one of the most serious environmental and agricultural threats in Victoria, with the statewide population expanding rapidly into new areas and numbering more than one million animals,” said Peter Jacobs, Invasive Species Council deer project officer and executive officer for the new network.
“The Victorian Deer Control Community Network has already signed up a broad coalition of more than 50 organisations and individuals who understand that the only way we can address the serious impacts of feral deer is by working together.
“The Victorian Government recently announced more than $18 million for feral deer control over the next four years and the development of deer control plans for regions. The timing is right for the Victorian Deer Control Community Network to provide a platform to work with government.”
The network was announced at the recent Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference and is initially chaired by Johannes Wenzel of the Cardinia Deer Management Coalition.
Mr Wenzel, one of the driving forces behind the formation of the network, said a key message from experts at the forum was the importance of community working together for a feral free future.
“Many individuals and community organisations, along with government, are starting to grapple with the feral deer problem and coming up with great new initiatives and ideas, but there is room for a lot more collaboration, co-ordination and opportunity to learn off each other,” Mr Wenzel said.
“We need a network where people can share learnings, build knowledge and skills and advocate for more effective control of feral deer.”
Mr Jacobs said the Invasive Species Council is supporting the establishment and running of the network because it sees building alliances and working together as fundamental to addressing the serious impacts of feral deer in Victoria.
“The vision is that a healthy and respectful collaboration of community, interest groups, institutions and government will bring about a substantial reduction in the impact of feral deer on the community, environment and the economy,” Mr Jacobs said.
“We encourage anyone, individual or organisations, to join and contribute to the Victorian Deer Control Community Network, the only prerequisite is being interested in reducing the impacts of feral deer.
“For everyone involved the impacts of feral deer on the environment, agriculture and public safety are a huge and growing concern.”
Those organisations and individuals that have already signed up to the network, including the Friends of Sherbrooke Forest and the East Gippsland Conservation Management Network, are excited about sharing information on feral deer control.
The Invasive Species Council helped form the network and is providing executive officer support as well as resources for the new community-driven initiative.