22 July, 2020
A story in today’s Weekly Times, in which the Australian Deer Association is quoted, highlights the superficial approach that even Governments and well-funded agencies tend to take to wild deer management.
The story outlines the “Wild Otways Initiative” which includes a $1 million project to “eradicate” wild deer and pigs.
Eradication, as we have outlined before, is rarely a feasible aim for land managers because it is rarely achievable – even on a regional level. It matters to us because it matters that initiatives around wild deer management, particularly initiatives which involve large amounts of government money, are credible and effective – by setting “eradication” as a goal, this project is being set up for failure. We don’t oppose necessary wild deer control, we do oppose false expectations being set and scarce resources being wasted. Wild deer must be managed for impacts and priority must be given to high value environmental and agricultural assets.
Government agencies and quasi government land managers have a duty to ensure that wild deer control is well justified, that if focuses on impacts and that there is monitoring in place to measure success. When control is entered into without sound consideration, we far too often see a focus on numbers rather than impacts and agencies locking themselves (and the taxpayer) into expensive, paid control in perpetuity with no clear end game.