A wild fallow deer standing in a barren patch of land with scattered trees
Wild fallow deer_1

Deer control project aims to protect unique wilderness

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Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) will soon undertake phase two operations for the eradication and control efforts of wild fallow deer in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).

The aerial shooting program uses thermal technology to detect and track deer from a helicopter.

Supported and funded by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments, the project focuses specifically on the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and parts of the Central Plateau Conservation Area and will see field operations for phase two begin on 29 April 2024.

The deer control area will be closed to all users from Monday 29 April – Sunday 2 June 2024.

Pest Control Programs Manager, Rob Buck, said the PWS hopes to build on the success of the first operation.

“Wild fallow deer are a threat to the natural values of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, our flagship landscape," Mr Buck said.

“The best way to make these landscapes resilient to climate change is to remove the pressures that exist on the environment from introduced species, so that the environment has the maximum chance of adapting."

The eradication effort in May 2023 saw over 700 deer removed in just 21 days and estimated deer numbers remaining in the TWWHA are thought to be approximately 300 animals.

“The success of the program is underpinned by the highest animal welfare standards, and using thermal assisted technology enables more accurate detection and identification of deer in the landscape, increases the effectiveness of control efforts and ensures animal welfare is maintained," said Mr Buck.

Aerial shooting operations will again be undertaken by highly trained and experienced Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania staff, who must comply with all relevant legislation, Codes of Practice and Standard Operating Procedures designed to ensure animals are controlled as humanely as possible.

Animal welfare is a priority, and a qualified veterinarian will be engaged to independently oversee the program.

Under the Tasmanian Wild Fallow Deer Management Plan, which sets the policy direction to manage deer for the period 2022 to 2027, the broad management objective for the zone encompassing the TWWHA is 'no deer'.

While eradication may be difficult, the 'no deer' objective for the zone means controlling new incursions and reducing pressure from nearby populations in a strategic and prioritised manner.

For further information including a full list of track and road closures visit: https://parks.tas.gov.au/deer-control

A map of the area which will be used during the wild fallow deer control project 

​A map of the area which will be used during phase two of the wild fallow deer control project.​​​

Published 4/04/2024