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Management of an expanding chital deer population in North Queensland

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Pople, A. R., Brennan, M., Amos, M., Kearns, B., McBride, K. and Blokland, A. (2017) Management of an expanding chital deer population in North Queensland. In: 17th Australasian vertebrate pest conference., Canberra.

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Chital deer (Axis axis) were introduced to Australia in the early 1880s on a property approximately 140 km northwest of Charters Towers. Unlike many other invasive vertebrate species, the distribution of chital from the point of release has remained relatively localised. However, in the last 20 years, landholders have reported an increase in chital deer abundance and an expansion of their range.
Aerial and ground surveys have determined the distribution and abundance of chital deer in the upper Burdekin region north of Charters Towers. These surveys revealed relatively high chital deer densities in areas close to homesteads and permanent water. Such densities are causing impacts for landholders through grazing competition with cattle, while trespassing by hunters is also a problem. A questionnaire survey of landholders has indicated the extent of the concern and timing of their spread. Landholders are increasingly viewing this species as a pest more than a resource.
Dry conditions over 2014-2016 have seen deer abundance decline markedly with annual declines of 65-83% recorded on two properties. This reduction, coupled with the concentration of animals, provided a strategic opportunity to further reduce deer numbers. Ground shooting had reduced their abundance on some properties with 36% of the population removed in five days on one property. Aerial culling has now been used to depress populations further on five properties, with ground shooting planned as a follow-up. The maximum rate of increase of chital deer is sufficiently low (~43%) for it to be feasible to hold populations at low densities, but coordination among properties will be required to gain landscape control.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Impact assessment
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Animal culture > Deer
Live Archive:17 Jan 2018 00:58
Last Modified:08 Dec 2021 22:31

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