Distributions of Sambar Deer, Rusa Deer and Sika Deer in Victoria


D.M. Forsyth, K. Stamation and, L. Woodford


Introduced deer species are important game animals in Victoria, but in some situations they can have negative impacts on agricultural and environmental values. There is concern that deer species are expanding their Victorian distributions through natural and human-assisted dispersal. Understanding the current distributions of deer species in Victoria will help inform their management. In general, preventing the establishment of ‘new’ populations provides a higher return on investment than eradication, and containment provides a higher return on investment than managing the impacts of widespread species. Understanding the distribution of deer species following their establishment would assist in the delineation of management areas. The Biosecurity Division of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries1 commissioned the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARIER) to investigate the historical and current distributions of three deer species (Sambar Deer Rusa unicolor, Rusa Deer Rusa timorensis and Sika Deer Cervus nippon) in Victoria. All three species can be legally hunted in Victoria. Sambar Deer were introduced into Victoria during the 1860s and are widespread in eastern Victoria. However, the current status of Rusa Deer and Sika Deer in Victoria is unclear.

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