D Forsyth, T Pople, B Page, A Moriarty, D Ramsey, J Parkes, A Wiebkin & C Lane (Eds)
Six introduced deer species occur in the wild in Australia, with all states and territories having at least one species present. In comparison to other introduced ungulates in Australia the impacts of wild deer have not been well documented. Globally, wild deer can have a wide variety of negative economic, social and environmental impacts – and some of these impacts are being reported in parts of Australia. However, investment in research and innovation to understand and minimise the negative impacts of wild deer has been ad hoc, with no national coordination. This workshop was held to identify national priorities for research and innovation to improve understanding and management of wild deer impacts in Australia.
These proceedings outline high-impact research and innovation priorities within four key areas: impacts, management tools and systems, monitoring deer distribution and abundance, and community engagement. A collection of abstracts briefly summarises current research and innovation for managing wild deer impacts in Australia.
The workshop identified significant gaps in knowledge that must be addressed to effectively manage wild deer impacts in Australia. Better information on impacts is required, in particular on agriculture and how those impacts change with deer density. A wide variety of tools and systems are being used to monitor and manage wild deer in Australia, and there is a need to identify the most cost-effective and socially acceptable of these in a best-practice guide. Further development of current and potential control tools (primarily aerial and ground shooting, trapping, baiting, fencing, and guardian dogs) is recommended. It is also unclear whether recreational and commercial hunters can reduce the impacts of deer. Improved tools for monitoring the distributions and abundances of deer are needed, and there is a need to evaluate the usefulness of emerging technologies such as thermal imaging and species recognition algorithms. There is a more general need to understand where wild deer will spread to in the coming decades. A community engagement model would be useful for managing deer in potentially contentious settings, such as peri-urban areas.
It is hoped that these proceedings will assist key groups, particularly the Commonwealth and State governments and Ministers, the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, universities and conservation and community groups to prioritise funding and resources to better understand and minimise the impacts of wild deer in Australia.