Dr Annelise Wiebkin will be working from South Australia (Photo: Centre For Invasive Species Solutions)

October 2, 2020

Dr Annelise Wiebkin has been appointed by the Federal Government to co-ordinate national action to reduce the damage feral deer cause to farms and the environment.

Agriculture Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said the new role of National Deer Management Co-ordinator would “engage farmers, natural resource managers and communities to increase their awareness, participation and motivation to control feral deer”.

Dr Wiebkin is based at the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions.

“Feral deer damage Australia’s natural environment and agricultural businesses by trampling plants, grazing and ring-barking young trees, fouling waterholes, causing soil erosion and spreading weeds as well as potentially transmitting livestock diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease,” Minister Littleproud said.

“FMD is a highly contagious animal disease that would have severe consequences were it to be introduced into Australia.

“Australia estimates that a small FMD outbreak, controlled in three months, could cost around $7.1 billion, while a large 12-month outbreak would cost $16 billion.

“The Australian Government, through a $20 million investment in the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, is providing up to $550,000 over the next two years towards the new National Deer Management Co-ordinator role.

“Dr Annelise Wiebkin’s role will expand on a successful model employed by South Australia to facilitate more co-ordinated control of feral deer and establish links between farmers, commercial harvesters and processors.

“Other national co-ordinator roles, such as the National Wild Dog Management Co-ordinator and the National Feral Pig Management Co-ordinator, are proving very successful, and I know we will see the same successes with this position.

“I commend industry for their efforts in advocating a nationally coordinated approach to feral deer management and I look forward to the development of a national plan for feral deer management.”

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Feral deer have had a chequered history in Queensland.

For many years they were a protected species but in 1985 were briefly declared a pest. Currently, deer are classed as a Restricted Invasive Animal.

A statue of a red deer stands proudly outside Toogoolawah Art Gallery in the Brisbane Valley.

According to Somerset Regional Council,  two stags and four hinds – a gift from Queen Victoria in celebration of the State being named in her honour – were released in the area on September 19, 1873.

Red deer are featured on the official Coat of Arms of Queensland, referring to the deer introduced from the Royal herds.

Feral red deer are now found around the headwaters of the Brisbane, Mary and Burnett rivers.

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