THE Bob Brown Foundation is calling on the State Government to reconsider the protected status of fallow deer in Tasmania due to their destructive and growing presence in Wilderness World Heritage Areas.
Christine Milne from the BBF was speaking at the launch of the report
Feral Deer Control: A Strategy for Tasmania by the Invasive Species Council, joined by the council’s chief executive Andrew Cox and report author Peter Jacobs.
“It is time for a major shift in direction with the regulatory protection of feral deer being removed and the deer being treated as a pest animal under the Biosecurity Act,” Ms Milne said.
Fallow deer were introduced to Tasmania in the 1830s.
By the 1970s they numbered 7000 to 8000 but that figure is currently estimated to be close to 100,000 and is expected to surpass 1 million by 2050.
“Feral deer have travelled well beyond the traditional range of the Midlands and are now in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, including the Central Plateau and Walls of Jerusalem and in the Douglas-Apsley, Ben Lomond and Freycinet national parks.”
As well as ring-barking, grazing and trampling natural vegetation on the Central Plateau, there are concerns of the impact feral deer can have on Tasmanian farmers.
“The damage being done to the crops and fences of Tasmanian farmers is a huge burden.
“Recognising feral deer as a pest under Tasmania’s Biosecurity Act means landowners and land managers like the Parks Service can put their business and biodiversity in front of preserving an expanding herd of feral deer,” Ms Milne said.
Mr Cox said deer were estimated to be costing Tasmanian farmers up to $80 million per year.
This estimate does not take into consideration additional factors such as potential vehicle accidents caused by deer as they spread to more urban areas and intangible costs such as the effects deer can have on cultural values.
Tasmanians are being encouraged to report any deer they see on iNaturalist, an app where deer locations can be recorded and tracked.
Details on the app can be invasives.org.au/our-w