Pest deer encroach on North Coast for the first time
DEER have been recorded in the Tweed for perhaps the first time, marking a growing biosecurity concern for the shire.
Tweed Shire Council pest management program leader Pamela Gray confirmed six deer sightings this year. It was not thought the pest animals strayed so far north in New South Wales. They have also been reported in neighbouring local government areas.
The animals are linked to fatal car accidents, crop destruction and damaged fences across the state.
Deer also threaten World Heritage areas, compete with wildlife and wildstock for food and spread ticks, according to the Department of Primary Industries.
Introduced to the state as domestic livestock by European settlers, five species of deer have established a strong foothold.
The council has been running a "deer prevention campaign" alongside Tweed Landcare.
Ms Gray said the council was mapping records to "get a better idea of the current distribution and abundance of feral deer" in the Tweed.
"There have been reports of around five or six deer in the Tweed through DeerScan," she said.
"Tweed Landcare and Tweed Shire Council are working together to initiate the planning and implementation of key actions for managing feral deer that were included in the North Coast Regional Pest Animal Management Plan.
"There are a number of feral deer species present in the Numinbah/Springbrook area of Gold Coast City Council, including both Fallow and Rusa Deer."
Ms Gray said the Landcare group received a small grant through the Department of Primary Industries to raise awareness about deer and create a proactive management plan.
"We are trying to get an understanding of how established feral deer are in Tweed Shire. Prevention, as well as early intervention is very important to avoid establishment of new pest species," she said.
Northern NSW councils, Local Land Services and National Parks and Wildlife Services have all joined a newly established North Coast Deer Stakeholder group.
Ms Gray said little was known about the distribution of deer in the Northern Rivers.
"It should be noted however that deer may move into Tweed Shire via its northern or western border," she said.
"Deer are highly invasive and populations of some species can build up quite quickly."
Report any sightings of deer in the Tweed to 1300 795 299.