Feral deer population in sights

Farmers, communities and native wildlife in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia are set to benefit from a slice of more than $2.3m in funding for feral deer control.

The Federal Government has prioritised action to support land managers, across both public and private land tenures, to manage the impacts of feral pests and weeds.  

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said these projects will also protect Australia’s native wildlife and biodiversity from the threats posed by feral deer.  

“Feral animals and invasive weeds pose a threat to our environment with millions of native species dying each year and major damage caused to important ecosystems,” Minister Ley said. 

Member for Barker Tony Pasin welcomed the announcement after advocating on behalf of the Limestone Coast Landscape Board to the Minister for additional control program funding.  

“Feral deer are a huge issue for the environment and land managers, particularly in the Limestone Coast region,” he said. 

“Feral deer also wreak havoc for farmers and primary producers in the region, competing with stock for pasture and crops, damaging fences and destroying vineyards.  

“From a biosecurity aspect they spread plant diseases and would harbour and spread disease such as foot and mouth and rinderpest should they ever enter Australia.” 

“This is why I have been fighting for additional funding to boost efforts to reduce the population and take pressure of landholders.”  

PIRSA will receive $2m from the Federal Government’s Supporting Communities Manage Pests and Weeds program to undertake deer control across South Australia, with priority regions for control efforts identified as Limestone Coast and Hills and Fleurieu regions in partnership with Landscape Boards. 

The Limestone Coast Landscape Board will also receive a further $344,000 directly to build on their existing deer control programs. 

Board Chair Penny Schulz said the funding would allow the board to reduce the impacts of feral deer on threatened species and habitat, with a particular focus on malleefowl population.

“Key malleefowl habitat will be targeted for feral deer removal with an aerial shooting program,” she said. 

“Malleefowl is a ground-dwelling, mound-nesting bird that is listed as Vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. 

“Deer pose a serious threat to malleefowl by damaging nesting mounds, competing for food resources and disturbing habitat. 

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