Media Contact: Interviewee: Kym Haebich Phone: 0408 811 392 or Tamara McPherson, A/Communications and Education Manager Phone: 0427 181 228 14th May 2007 Escaped deer pose threat The serious risk associated with deer‟s natural tendency to roam, has recently been highlighted with the escape of approximately two dozen tagged deer after a secure fence was broken in a vehicle accident. Chairman of the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board‟s (SA MDB NRM Board) Ranges to River Group, Mr. Bruce Munday is concerned by the severe risk that the escaped deer present to the Tungkillo district. “This escape has the potential to not only cause damage to native vegetation and commercial crops, but also create a significant risk to vehicles driven by members of the general public,” he said. “Deer are naturally shy but they are also easily able to clear normal stock fences, making them a potential hazard for motorists. “They adapt extremely well to our environment and can breed up to significant numbers. In areas such as the Upper South East they have done considerable damage to fences, watercourses, native vegetation and crops. “Deer can also transmit the serious ovine Johne's disease, representing a grave threat to the local sheep industry.” In this particular case, it was some time before the escape was reported to NRM Board staff, and the population of deer had moved a considerable distance and acclimatized to the local terrain, making their capture extremely difficult. Acting Team Leader for the Ranges to River Authorised Officers, Mr Kym Haebich said, “As it was impossible to capture and return all the deer, one of the Board staff, in line with the State Deer policy, assisted the herd owner by arranging for members of the Sporting Shooters Association to undertake a controlled and supervised shoot. “This has reduced the number of deer now „on the loose‟, but we are sure there are others and we therefore encourage owners of deer herds to ensure that they monitor and maintain the fencing of their deer enclosures, to minimise the risk of future escapes.” Mr. Haebich warns members of the public not to attempt to shoot the deer. “Aside from the danger to the public and to livestock, deer are difficult to approach and very quickly become „gun shy‟, making their control even more difficult.” PIRSA Animal Health is able to provide the SA MDB NRM Board with contact information of registered deer owners, so any landholder detecting escaped deer should contact the NRM Board. The Board Officers are able to provide individuals with the contact information of registered deer owners in specific areas at no charge, to enable the recovery and return of any deer that have escaped. For further information contact the Board on 8532 1432. END.