Thermal aerial monitoring identify feral deer for eradication

News article |

In April 2022, the Limestone Coast Landscape Board (LC Landscape Board) conducted aerial monitoring to identify populations of feral deer.

Supported through funding from the South Australian Government Landscape Priorities Fund, the aerial survey targeted areas of native vegetation where feral deer are suspected to shelter. Limestone Coast Landscape Board Operations Manager, Mike Stevens said the estimated average density of feral deer was 2.97 per square kilometre across the ten survey areas with over 8 deer per square kilometre detected in one area.

The survey used thermal assisted technology to identify feral deer in thick vegetation. Observations have been reported to the affected landholders and the monitoring data will inform the LC Landscape Board’s Feral Deer Eradication Program.

Under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019 (the Act) feral deer are a declared pest, and landholders are responsible for the eradication of all feral deer on their properties. Feral deer have significant economic impact to landholders and are a risk to the environment with potential to spread diseases to livestock. “We are now notifying the affected landholders and are seeking to work with them to ensure they are aware of their obligation to destroy all feral deer on their property and are inviting them to participate in our Feral Deer Eradication Program,” said Mr Stevens.

“The LC Landscape Board can help landholders meet their legal obligation to eradicate all feral deer on their property. Our eradication programs are free to all landholders, and this is part of significant investment over the next few years to achieve eradication of all feral deer in the region.”

The Limestone Coast Landscape Board General Manager, Steve Bourne said “When just 1 red stag’s grazing capacity equates to 3.6 sheep, the findings of eight feral deer per square kilometre in the seriously affected areas can reduce a farms grazing capacity by over 28 sheep per square kilometre (100 hectares). This is a significant impact on a property’s bottom line”.

The LC Landscape Board will repeat the thermal aerial monitoring in spring 2022 and autumn 2023 to assist with feral deer detection and support eradication programs.

“Most importantly, we are here to help landholders eradicate all feral deer and we encourage any landholders with feral deer on their property to participate in our eradication programs,” said Mr Bourne.

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