A new management research collaboration will tackle the escalating problem of feral deer and minimise their threat to livestock and the environment.
Headed by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, the group brings together five state and territory governments, three local councils, three universities and three private environmental groups.
The group has received $3.2million from the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and will focus on four projects including developing best-practice management feral deer toolkits and better understanding of the role of feral deer in the transmission of disease to livestock, including foot and mouth disease.
One project will be specifically looking at developing management strategies for feral deer in peri-urban areas, too.
Centre for Invasive Species Solutions chief executive officer Andreas Glanznig said this large-scale collaboration was formed after a national workshop on deer management held in late 2016.
‘‘The workshop identified a number of knowledge and innovation priorities that must be addressed to more effectively manage this emerging national issue,’’ Mr Glanznig said.
‘‘This collaboration underscores the important role of the centre in fostering nationally co-ordinated approaches to developing better solutions for invasive species problems.’’
Danny Picker, a farmer and Australian Superfine Woolgrowers Association president, welcomed the collaboration.
‘‘There are six known species of feral deer in Australia, and all states and territories have at least one of these species — it truly is a national issue, which requires this national collaboration to find the answers,’’ Mr Picker said.
‘‘We are hearing more and more of the damage deer are doing to our agricultural sector and the environment, not just in rural areas but in urban areas, too.’’
The four strategic deer projects have started and in coming years the centre will provide land managers with the research outcomes, which will enhance best-practice management of feral deer in Australia.