Feral deer destroy shrubs, ringbark trees, trample rainforests, wallow in wetlands, wreck orchards and vineyards, and they’re a hazard on our roads. 

Ask your ministers to protect wildlife, national parks, local businesses and communities by urgently listing feral deer as a pest animal and ramp up effective implementation of widespread feral deer control.

A copy of the letter you’re sending is in yellow below. 


Dear Minister for the Environment Lily D’Ambrosio and Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas,

Re: Time to list deer as a pest animal

I am writing to you in your roles as key natural environment Ministers in the Victorian Government. I’m concerned that Victoria’s Final Deer Management Strategy (2018) failed to commit to listing deer as a pest animal, despite the strategy’s clear statement that “a wide range of environmental, economic, and social impacts have been attributed to wild deer”.

The strategy affirms that impacts include increased pressure on threatened species and communities, the destruction of native vegetation and competition with native wildlife for food sources, degradation of waterways and the spread of weeds and animal diseases. Deer also affect orchards vineyards and farms, damage Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, and threaten public safety on our roads.

The strategy points out that community feedback overwhelmingly supported listing all deer as a pest species, yet the strategy only committed to “review the status of some deer species”.

In June 2020 a Federal Senate inquiry has recommended that all Australian states and territories change their laws to ensure that deer are “treated as an environmental pest”. In addition, the senate inquiry found that the states should “maximise the ability of park managers to control feral deer in World heritage areas and National Parks”, and “maximise the ability of landholders to manage deer on their land.”

With over a million deer now rampaging around the state, laws protecting them so recreational hunters can hunt them are now long past their ‘use by’ date.

Fortunately, Victoria’s Wildlife Act, the law that protects deer, is currently being revised. It’s time to remove any protection offered by that Act and clearly list deer as a pest species. Deer are without a doubt a pest – they are invading our forests, farms, national parks, towns and even cities.

We also need to ramp up effective implementation of widespread feral deer control to restore the integrity of our finest natural areas, protect Indigenous culture, support agriculture, and keep our roads safe.

I urge you to act emphatically to allow deer to be managed in a way that matches the threats they pose to Victoria’s natural areas, and to Victorians.

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