Landscape Board calls on landholders to join feral deer program

Appeal: Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA National Deer Management Coordinator Dr Annelise Wiebkin speaks with landholders at a recent event to promote eradication of feral deer. Picture: Supplied

Appeal: Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA National Deer Management Coordinator Dr Annelise Wiebkin speaks with landholders at a recent event to promote eradication of feral deer. Picture: Supplied

The Limestone Coast Landscape Board is calling on landholders to join in their program to eradicate feral deer.

The board has taken a hardline stance on the declared pest species, including through control programs and farmed deer compliance operations, but they say more needs to be done.

They have been working with landholders to achieve property-scale eradication and recently hosted a dinner to thank those involved, and appeal for more to join the cause.

LC Landscape Board's General Manager Steve Bourne, said the board was working to ensure the community was aware of the "devastation caused by feral deer on our landscape, in particular to the agricultural industry and the region's biodiversity".

"Feral deer significantly reduce productivity on farms as they compete with livestock for pasture, damage infrastructure such as fences and have the potential to spread disease," Mr Bourne said.

"As little as nine red stags on a property is the same as 387 rabbits and reduces the grazing capacity of that property by over 30 sheep.

"Not only do feral deer impact the agricultural bottom line and environment, they also attract illegal hunting and create public safety hazards on our roads."

I am fighting to see this funding program boosted on the Limestone Coast so we can get on top of this noxious problem

Member for Barker Tony Pasin

The dinner was held at Kingston on November 19. LC Landscape Board Feral Deer Project Officer Aidan Laslett and Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA National Deer Management Coordinator Dr Annelise Wiebkin both addressed the crowd.

They outlined trials of new thermal-assisted aerial control (TAAC) technology to assist in feral deer control.

Mr Laslett praised participating landholders for their involvement: "Through working together we are achieving intensive feral deer control at the largest possible scale, resulting in significant inroads to achieving eradication and protecting our region from feral deer impacts."

He said more landholders were required to participate in the board's programs.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin said the presence of feral deer was a "growing issue" around the country and numbers had reached a "tipping point" in SA.

He said aerial abatement was the most effective way to remove large numbers of deer.

"Since aerial abatement programs began on the Limestone Coast in 2009, more than 12,000 deer have been removed," Mr Pasin said.

"We need to increase these abatement efforts to see numbers reduced adequately. I am fighting to see this funding program boosted on the Limestone Coast so we can get on top of this noxious problem."