Councillor calls for proactive action before a life is lost
DESPERATE for proactive intervention before a life is lost, a Rockhampton councillor has called on authorities to work together in tackling Rockhampton's feral deer problem before it worsened in the coming mating season.
Cr Neil Fisher said dry weather was forcing the feral pests in significant numbers down from the national park in the Berserker Mountains into low-lying areas of mixed ownership land, crossing Lakes Creek Road on their way to the Fitzroy River.
While Beserker resident Anthony Cathro gained coverage in The Morning Bulletin after his vehicle was wiped out by a deer while he was driving to his job at JBS Meatworks on Saturday, Cr Fisher said he had heard about two other incidents of deer colliding with vehicles on the weekend.
Prolific breeders, with no natural predator, the deer have become an increasing problem, not only in Rockhampton but across the state, with authorities failing to arrive at a decisive solution.
In previous years, Cr Fisher said plans to conduct a local cull were derailed but now, on the verge of mating season, the situation has deteriorated to the point where he feared someone might be injured or killed by a territorial buck or in a collision with a vehicle.
"The worst is yet to come,” he warned. "Now is the time to be proactive and go into the National Park and clear it out.”
The Mount Archer resident said there were two groups of deer near his property whose numbers had swollen unchecked over the years.
He said there was a real problem of passing the buck when it came to government departments addressing he problem and Cr Fisher hoped that by showing Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke the problem first-hand, he could convince the State Government to take the issue seriously.
Speaking on behalf of QPWS, a Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said feral deer in the Rockhampton area was a multi-tenure issue involving state lands, private property, council reserves as well as state and local government managed transport corridors.
"Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will continue to work with both Livingstone Shire and Rockhampton Regional Council's, local landholders, and relevant State Government departments to manage the feral deer population,” the spokesperson said.
"To date, no deer have been recorded by remote monitoring cameras on QPWS estate in the Rockhampton area, including Mount Archer National Park. As such, QPWS rangers are not planning any trapping activities at this time.”
With the exception of Pilbeam Drive, the spokesperson said Mount Archer National Park was largely landlocked by freehold properties, and located several kilometres from the nearest surrounding main roads.
"QPWS does not manage road corridors, so queries in relation to the management of deer on road corridors should be directed to the managing authority (state or council) for that road corridor,” they said.
A spokesperson for Biosecurity Queensland said under the Biosecurity Act 2014, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation to take reasonable and practical steps to prevent or minimise the risks associated with all biosecurity matter, including invasive plants and animals, under their control.
"Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species,” the spokesperson said. "Anyone with concerns about feral deer should contact their local council.”
Capricorn Police District Acting Superintendent David Keef said the dry weather was increasing the number of wildlife near roads. He advised motorists to drive to the prevailing conditions and to keep vigilant.