Wild deer herds in Australia's urban fringe: issues, management and politics
Deer were introduced into Australia by acclimatisation societies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to enhance the aesthetics of the local environment and provide sport. Several of these populations survived and formed the basis of larger, well established wild deer populations. Deer were also introduced by farmers in the late 20th century through the release of animals during poor climatic and economic conditions and through their escape from poorly-maintained farms. In addition, hunters and hunting agencies have released deer into the wild in the late 20th century for trophy development. As a consequence, Fallow, Red, Sambar, Chital, Rusa and Hog deer have formed wild populations in many habitats, ranging from arid woodland to rainforest. The alarming increase in the number of wild deer over the last three decades, and the continued expansion of Australia's urban areas, has seen the development of conflicts between wild deer and people. Disagreement and politics among the wild deer stakeholder groups and a lack of knowledge of deer ecology, impacts and management techniques by government agency land managers continues to impede the effective management of urban deer populations in Australia despite the potential for deer species to become important pests.