Sharing ideers and resources to prevent another feral invasion

Preventing the establishment of feral deer on the Northern Rivers

Sharing ideers and resources to prevent another feral invasion

Preventing the establishment of feral deer on the Northern Rivers

Taking Action -


The issue

Feral deer are undoubtedly an emerging pest management issue in almost every environment on the eastern seaboard. Due to their biological and behavioural nature deer populations can spread relatively rapidly and unnoticed. The NSW Northern Rivers is yet to have an established population within its boundaries, for now, even though the region contains habitat suitable for most of the six deer species already in NSW. Established populations of feral deer can cause major economic impacts to farmers, health issues for people and livestock, and damage to cultural and natural assets. There are no proven control strategies for established populations of feral deer and where attempts have been made they have proven costly and largely ineffective in the long term. The Northern Rivers is in a good position to be on the forefront of a feral deer prevention, containment and eradication campaign as deer numbers are expected to low or largely absent and there are numerous agricultural, social, cultural and environmental assets worthy of protection.

The solution

The initiative requires a rapid, ambitious, collaborative investment of time and resources that may not necessarily result in success but is worth trying for considering the assets at stake. We need to be on the forefront of the deer incursion to ensure the best chance of success and develop strategies based on prevention, containment and eradication principles. The Northern Rivers Feral Deer Plan 2020-2025 outlines these strategies which align with State and Regional pest animal policies and planning. A working group from the NSW Northern Rivers Deer Prevention Stakeholder Group formed to write this plan. One important action is to raise the awareness of the community to the impacts that feral deer can cause and how they can report sightings. This action will help identify hot spot areas for monitoring and control and create an informed community that are aware of the need to control deer and how to take action. To aid the community engagement process posters and postcards, have been produced and distributed across the Northern Rivers region to LGA, Landcare and LLS offices. These materials were distributed to the community at local markets and agricultural shows where they were received with interest by many who were unaware of the potential occurrence of feral deer in their area. 

The impact

This funding allowed Tweed Landcare to create a Working group from the Stakeholder group to develop Northern Rivers Feral Deer Plan. The extension of a feral deer awareness campaign with promotional materials potentially reached over 1000 people and is only in the beginning stages. These activities have strengthened collaborations and made a major impact on the development of the project for the future and all stakeholders involved.


Key facts

  • One Draft Northern Rivers Feral Deer Plan
  • 2400 feral deer postcards and 14 corflute posters produced and distributed across the region
  • 3 community engagement events at Kyogle and Murwillumbah

Project Partners