The liberation, distribution, abundance and management of wild deer in Australia

Deer species (fallow, red, sambar, chital, rusa and hog deer) have formed wild populations in Australian habitats ranging from arid woodland to rainforest and are a growing management issue. Data were obtained via an Australia-wide land-manager survey that collected information on the liberation, distribution, abundance and management of wild deer in Australia. It is estimated that there are 218 wild deer herds in Australia with 7% of these herds originating from acclimatisation society releases, 35% from deer farm escapes/releases and 58% from translocations (deliberate releases). On average, herds released by acclimatisation societies are estimated to be 107 years old, herds that have escaped from (or been released from) deer farms are 9 years old, and transplanted herds are 6 years old. It is estimated that Australia currently has 200 000 wild deer, with 85% of these deer originally released by acclimatisation societies, 6% through escapes/releases from deer farms and 9% by translocation. Poor knowledge of the impacts of wild deer by land managers and the absence of consistent legislation governing the management of farmed and wild deer are factors that have exacerbated deliberate releases of deer and the escape of deer from farms. Management strategies for wild deer in Australia need to be developed by land managers to address the escape and release of deer from farms, the illegal translocation of deer into the wild and the management of existing wild deer herds.

Author Moriarty, A.
Year 2004
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 31
Number 3
Pages 291-299
Region Australia - national