The Invasive Species Council (ISC) today urged the Victorian and NSW governments to declare deer feral pests and implement control programs to protect the environment and agriculture – in line with states across their borders.
The call comes after the Queensland primary industries minister Tim Mulherin today announced that seven deer species would be declared pests as a basis for controlling populations and preventing new introductions. South Australia also controls deer as feral pests.
ISC project officer Tim Low said although deer are Australia’s worst emerging pest problem – causing great damage to the environment and farms – Victoria and NSW protect them as a hunting resource.
Both states require people to obtain game licences to kill deer and there are closed seasons and bag limits on some species.
“With no proper control programs in most places, deer are spreading and new populations are establishing,” Mr Low said.
“Unless deer are controlled, they could come to outnumber kangaroos in some national parks.
“NSW and Victoria are sacrificing environmental and agricultural values for the sake of recreational hunting.
“There is increasing recognition of the damage deer do to native vegetation and habitat for wildlife, including the listing of deer in NSW and sambar deer in Victoria as key threatening processes.
“Queensland’s primary industries minister said the impacts of deer in the Wet Tropics would be ‘catastrophic’. The same can be said for many other environments.”