Feral deer concerns on Eyre Peninsula

SIGHTING: Two red deer caught on camera trap north-east of Kimba last year. Photo: Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board
SIGHTING: Two red deer caught on camera trap north-east of Kimba last year. Photo: Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board

Cooperation and community involvement is being asked for in an effort to prevent the further spread of feral deer populations across the Eyre Peninsula.

The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board has expressed concerns that deer populations are establishing in Eastern Eyre Peninsula after images of feral deer were captured near Kimba.

It is also concerned that deer sightings are not being reported.

Eyre Peninsula landscape officer Rebekah Davenport said feral deer could be destructive to the agricultural sector economically, impacting farmers when they compete with stock for feed, create soil erosion issues, and damage fences, water pipes, silo bags and crops.

"They also have negative impacts on native vegetation and important biodiversity that rely on these habitats, such as our vulnerable malleefowl populations," she said.

"Wandering deer also pose a potentially fatal traffic hazard on our country roads."

The board knows of at least one established population of feral deer on Eastern Eyre Peninsula, northwest of Kimba in the Buckleboo-Yeltana area.

The number is estimated at between 15-20 deer however the problem with getting exact numbers is deer are mostly active late a night or early morning, and are shy and like to hide in scrub.

Deer populations on Eyre Peninsula are mostly established from historical species with the most common species seen in the region being red deer.

Landscape board team leader of landscape operations (East) Tim Breuer, said community support was invaluable in managing feral deer populations and preventing further growth.

"We rely on the community reporting deer sightings to track numbers and facilitate targeted control which can prevent population booms and major negative impacts to Eyre Peninsula," he said.

"We know other parts of our state have well established feral deer populations, something we really want to avoid occurring here."

Under the 'Landscape South Australia Act 2019', landholders are required to control any feral deer found on their property with shooting currently the only method of controlling deer.

Department of Primary Industries and Region's state deer control coordinator Jennifer Gillis said it was important to eliminate deer during the current summer season.

"During these hotter months where feed is scarcer, deer can have more extensive impacts on crop and pasture biomass, and populations can potentially be displaced to new areas by fire," she said.

People can report deer online at www.feralscan.org.au/deerscan or downloading the Feral Scan app or by reporting directly to landscape officers Barbara Murphy on 0427 188 546 or email EPLBAdmin@sa.gov.au.

This story Deer dilemma for Eastern Eyre first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.