Regional Grazing Pressure Management

Grazing pressure from feral goats and deer can have substantial impacts on primary production, native vegetation, and threatened flora and fauna.

The Regional Grazing Pressure Management program implements a strategic and coordinated approach to reducing grazing pressure across the Hills and Fleurieu region.

Funded through the Landscape Levy, the program aims to reduce these impacts in key areas by controlling goats and deer, which are declared pests under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019 (most commonly feral goats and feral deer), and controlling over-abundant western grey kangaroos.

In partnership with the Department for Environment and Water’s National Parks and Wildlife Service, Green Adelaide, ForestrySA, SA Water, and private landholders the program manages grazing pressure through specialist staff-led operations, and the use of contractors and volunteers to deliver targeted outcomes.

Read our factsheet about the program here.

Fast Facts - Feral goats and deer

  • Goats arrived in Australia with the First Fleet in 1788 as a source of meat and milk. Feral goat herds established when domestic goats escaped, were abandoned or were deliberately released. Feral goats are now found in all states and territories of Australia, as well as some off-shore islands.
  • Deer species in Australia were originally introduced by Europeans as game animals in the 19th century. In recent decades, deer have been released or escaped from commercial deer farms and their numbers have grown substantially. Feral deer may be Australia’s worst emerging pest problem.
  • Feral goats and deer cost the agricultural industry millions of dollars each year and pose a significant threat to biodiversity and landscape health.
  • Feral goats and deer decimate pasture, crops and fences, cause erosion to hillsides and watercourses, spread weeds, prevent regeneration of native vegetation and impact our vulnerable ecosystems.
  • Feral goats and deer have no natural predators in the Hills and Fleurieu. This, combined with their fast reproductive rate, means they are very high in number, and need to be controlled.
  • Reduction of grazing pressure can have successive benefits for ecosystem health and farm productivity.
  • ‘Competition and land degradation by feral goats’ is listed as a key threatening process under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
  • Feral goats also pose a serious health risk to humans, livestock and native animals. They can spread notifiable diseases such as footrot, and possibly even exotic animal diseases (such as foot-and-mouth) if introduced to Australia.
Regional Grazing Pressure Management
Feral goats decimate pasture and crops, cause erosion, prevent regeneration of native vegetation and impact our vulnerable ecosystems.

How to report sightings of feral goats and deer

If you see a feral goat or deer, it is important to report it.

The FeralScan website allows the reporting of feral species sightings, and will trigger an alert to our grazing pressure management team, who can better understand where sub-populations are residing and how to best plan control programs.

Alternatively, contact the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board on 8391 7500 or email hf.landscapeboard@sa.gov.au

Western grey kangaroos

The Regional Grazing Pressure Management program also delivers coordinated management of impact causing western grey kangaroos in priority locations.

The board partners with public and private landholders following stringent safety measures and best-practice methods (National code of practice for the humane shooting of kangaroos and wallabies for non-commercial purposes and the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes), to help reduce western grey kangaroo impacts to acceptable levels.

You can read more about the issue and the how the board manages western grey kangaroos in this media release.

Reduction of grazing pressure can have successive benefits for ecosystem health and farm productivity.

Managing impact-causing native animals may result in a healthier local population of the species by ensuring these animals have access to adequate food and natural places to graze, and helps reduce impacts on agriculture, vulnerable ecosystems and road safety.

More information for landholders

All species of kangaroo are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972, meaning that it is illegal to kill or harm them without authority. The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) is responsible for regulations and policy setting under this Act.

Landholders have three options (or a combination thereof) to manage kangaroos:

Non-lethal methods - can include using fencing, deterrents, removing water points (permanently or temporarily), etc.

Commercial Harvest – where a kangaroo field processor (shooter) harvests kangaroos from a property in the commercial harvest zone and then sells carcasses to a kangaroo meat processor (for human consumption or pet food).

Permit to Destroy Wildlife – where DEW grants permission for the landholder or a nominee to shoot a specified number of kangaroos on a property. The carcasses may be utilised by the landholder, but cannot be sold or given away and must remain on the property, unless ‘personal use’ (yellow) tags have been purchased with the permit and are attached to the carcasses.

If you would like to know more about these options, please refer to the DEW landholder factsheet, or contact your local NPWSSA office or the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board on 8391 7500.