Feral deer in the suburbs: An emerging issue for Australia?
Date of this Version
Deer are not endemic to Australia, but were introduced for game and aesthetics between the early 18th and 20th centuries. Until recent decades, most deer descended from these introductions. Before the 1970s when deer numbers and distribution expanded dramatically, farming was a modest enterprise. With the collapse of farming in the 1990s, large numbers of deer were deliberately released and translocated. Feral numbers and herds have subsequently expanded, and are increasingly encroaching on urban areas. As a new issue in Australia, views toward feral deer are polarized and span “welcome guest” to “major pest.” The emerging urban deer issues need greater acknowledgment and strategic management. This will require more emphasis on raising awareness, engagement with stakeholders, and development of legislative instruments to provide better strategic management of urban deer. This article reviews the potential increase in urban deer in Australia, considers the associated issues, and provides recommendations for management.
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