The Tasmanian Government must act now to stop feral deer numbers exploding or else the agricultural and environmental damage they cause will quickly become overwhelming, Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.
“A University of Tasmania report predicts fallow deer numbers could reach 1.4 million by mid century – if this happens large parts of central and northern Tasmania will forever be subject to large numbers of feral deer,” Mr Cox said.
“We need to nip this in the bud before a disaster unfolds.
“Current control measures are not working. We have been contacted by land managers who are extremely frustrated because they can’t cull the numbers required to protect their fences, pasture and crops.”
The report states that current practice – managing feral deer as a hunting resource while giving permission to farmers to protect their farming resources – ‘will make almost no difference to the size of the population likely to be realised 20 or 30 years from now’.
“The cost of getting a permit and time taken to control feral deer puts Tasmanian farmers at a disadvantage to their interstate counterparts who are free to control deer on their own land whenever they choose,” Mr Cox said.
“On its own, changing rules for private landowners will not solve the problem.
“Tasmania needs an integrated pest control program that involves professional shooters and other coordinated methods that aim to contain the spread of feral deer.
“We can’t keep relying on recreational hunters to keep numbers down; the UTAS report shows this hasn’t worked.
“The time for ignoring this problem is over.
“Feral deer are a serious pest. Rampant deer numbers are set to destroy large areas of sensitive wilderness areas and prime agricultural land and it’s up to the government to tackle this problem head-on,” Mr Cox said.
Andrew Cox on 0438 588 040.