NEWS 16 August 2023 |

Feral deer are spreading in droves across Victoria and Australia. There is a serious need to coordinate their management and removal across public and private land, as well as state borders.

The Victorian National Parks Association welcomes the Commonwealth Government’s release of the National Feral Deer Action Plan 2023–28.

The new plan reiterates the bracing fact that Victoria has the biggest infestation of feral deer in Australia, with impacts felt by farmers, First Nations communities and the natural environment.

Feral deer are a growing threat to our national parks and natural areas. With an estimated population of over one million feral deer across the state, Victoria will lose $2 billion over the next 30 years through lost agricultural resources, forestry production, public safety, and social costs.

It’s time for Victoria to remove restrictions protecting feral deer as game species. They must be listed as a pest in order to reflect the level of damage done to nature, agriculture and First Nations cultural sites.

Caption: Feral deer damage in Sherbrooke Forest

A significant increase funding to control feral deer is urgently needed from the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments. The burden must not lie solely with farmers, First Nation communities and public land managers to scrape together the funds they need to remove feral deer.

“We see the impact of deer growing across our state every day, rainforest gullies converted to mud pits, community revegetation attempts eaten to the ground and increased car strikes closer and closer to communities” – Jordan Crook, Parks Advocate for the Victorian National Parks Association.

In 2019, VNPA coordinated a group letter from scientists, food and wine producers, bushwalking groups and conservationists calling on the Victorian Government to remove protections for feral deer.

The National Feral Deer Action Plan identifies a minimum of 25 threatened plants, five threatened animals and 13 threatened ecological communities considered to be particularly threatened by feral deer.

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Page last updated: 16/08/23