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Intensive professional vehicle-based shooting provides local control of invasive rusa deer in a peri-urban landscape

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Comte, S., Bengsen, A. J., Cunningham, C. X., Dawson, M., Pople, A. R. and Forsyth, D. M. (2024) Intensive professional vehicle-based shooting provides local control of invasive rusa deer in a peri-urban landscape. Biological Invasions . ISSN 1573-1464

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-024-03345-y


Non-native deer are becoming increasingly common in peri-urban landscapes, where they pose a risk to the health and wellbeing of people. Professional vehicle-based shooting is commonly used to control deer populations in these complex landscapes, but the effectiveness and cost of this method have seldom been evaluated. We analyzed the effectiveness and cost of using professional vehicle-based shooting to reduce the abundance and impacts of non-native rusa deer (Cervus timorensis) in a peri-urban landscape in Wollongong, eastern Australia, during 2011–2021. We incorporated the results from an independent monitoring program into a Bayesian joint-likelihood framework to model spatio-temporal changes in rusa deer abundance. Finally, we used our findings to assess the effect of the management program on the number of complaints from the residents. After eleven years and the removal of 4701 rusa deer from Wollongong LGA (712 km2), deer abundance did not change in 74.7% of the area, decreased in 19.4% of the area (mostly in and around the sites where the professional shooting occurred), and increased in 5.9% of the area. Shooting was most cost-effective during winter when the longer hours of darkness meant that shooters could visit more sites. In contrast to deer abundance, the probability of residents complaining about deer increased in space and time. Our study shows that professional vehicle-based shooting can locally reduce the abundance of invasive deer in a peri-urban landscape, providing that sufficient control effort is expended. We suggest that shooting effort is currently too thinly spread across this peri-urban landscape, and that concentrating shooting effort on the areas of greatest deer abundance and resident complaints might be a more cost-effective strategy for managing invasive deer in peri-urban landscapes.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:Cost-effectiveness Culling Peri-urban rusa deer Professional shooting Resident complaints Wildlife management
Live Archive:16 Jun 2024 23:53
Last Modified:16 Jun 2024 23:53

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