A story journey: Tales of Santa’s lost deer

Santa’s lost deer under close watch


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Queensland's Feral Deer Management Strategy is entering its final year in 2018.

Queensland's Feral Deer Management Strategy is entering its final year in 2018.

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With Christmas time upon us, we explore the 'Friend or Foe' situation with Santa's lost feral deer in Queensland.

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Santa’s lost feral deer have been under close watch by Queensland’s biosecurity department for the past four years.

Now, Biosecurity Queensland is undertaking a trial of infrared technology to determine whether it could be used in broadly surveying the state’s feral deer populations. Queensland’s Department of Agriculture is also conducting research to examine monitoring techniques, control strategies and community views about feral deer to help future management.

With the Queensland Feral Deer Management Strategy entering its final year in 2018 it appears to be achieving some success. DAF launched the initiative in 2013 to manage agricultural, environmental and social impacts caused by the four species of feral deer across our state.

In western Queensland, Red deer are being monitored by a remote camera research project to determine the local population size. 

Meanwhile, the Brisbane City Council has reported a 31 per cent drop in complaints year-on-year relating to feral deer, while Ipswich Regional Council said they currently don’t have any public issue relating to feral deer around the Mt Crosby region and haven’t experienced an increase in feral deer reports throughout 2017.

Map of feral deer distribution in Queensland. Picture: DAF.

Map of feral deer distribution in Queensland. Picture: DAF.

While the idea of Santa’s sleigh pulling reindeer, helped by the ever-cute Bambi cartoon, make them an aesthetically pleasing idea, feral deer have the potential to cause significant environmental degradation, damage crops and carry diseases that affect livestock. And a Biosecurity Queensland spokesperson said the primary responsibility for controlling feral deer rests with landowners.

“Under legislation, all landholders (including the state government) are responsible for the control of Class 2 feral deer on lands that they manage,” a DAF spokesperson said.

Read more Tales of Santa’s Lost Deer

Vegetation response to feral deer exclusion over an 8 year period at the Royal National Park in New South Wales. Picture: DAF.

Vegetation response to feral deer exclusion over an 8 year period at the Royal National Park in New South Wales. Picture: DAF.

“Landholders in or adjacent to environmentally significant areas may have a responsibility to control Class 3 species if directed by a local government that reasonably believes the species are affecting the environmentally significant area.”

Landholder who are directed by local councils to control deer and don’t comply can face a fine of up to $44,000, while anyone introducing deer species currently not found in Queensland could be penalised up to $88,000.

The story A story journey: Tales of Santa’s lost deer first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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