New rules now apply for the tagging and ownership of domestic deer and the movement, possession and sale of feral deer and pigs.
Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said they may be seen as cute, cuddly creatures when small, but the harsh reality is that farmed animals such as deer and pigs cause havoc when they escape and become feral.
“Since the first policy on feral deer was released in 2006, we have seen several types of deer escape or be released into the wild and spread across South Australia, and numbers culled haven’t been sufficient to stop populations growing,” said Minister Speirs.
“The stark reality is that when they turn feral, deer impact agricultural industries and the environment. They eat native plants, pasture and crops, spread diseases and cause damage to fencing. They also cause other problems, becoming hazards on our roads and attracting illegal hunters, on both private and public lands.
“Their numbers are currently the highest they’ve ever been, so to reduce their impact there are significant changes in this revised policy. It includes a requirement for land managers to destroy feral deer on their properties, as well as fencing standards for new farms and tagging procedures for all domestic deer.
“To reinforce South Australia’s new deer policy the State Government has appointed a Deer Control Coordinator who will assist landholders in their efforts to control deer. Their role is to increase effectiveness of current control programs by engaging with, informing, and empowering community and industry groups to maximise returns on their efforts in managing deer populations.
“We have similar issues with feral pigs. Although their numbers are still low in most areas, they could expand quickly if we don’t act swiftly.
“The policy includes the requirement for land managers to destroy all feral pigs on their properties and prohibits any movement, possession and sale of feral pigs.
“These changes will support Natural Resource Management Boards working with landholders to reduce feral deer and pig numbers on their property.
“Once again, we’ve spoken with communities about their concerns – this legislation has been informed by extensive public consultation.
“The most important messages are that no deer or pigs should ever be released into the wild, and that all landholders need to make an effort to reduce their numbers.”