O deer! Behind the conflict between humans and deer in Victoria

10 JANUARY 2019

Deer numbers in Northeast Victoria have exploded in recent years as humans and deer compete for space and resources in the region, and a CSU researcher is investigating the human side of the problem.

* Humans and deer have come into increasing conflict in recent years.

* Deer numbers have exploded in Northeast Victoria.

* CSU research is looking into different community perspectives to improve public consultation and government policy around deer in Victoria.

Deer numbers in Northeast Victoria have exploded in recent years as humans and deer compete for space and resources in the region.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) researcher, Dr Jennifer Bond, says conflict issues include road safety, environmental degradation, and loss of productivity on private land.

“Underlying this is a human-to-human conflict regarding ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’,” said Dr Bond, who is an expert in human conflict over natural resources and conservation with the CSU Institute for Land, Water and Society.

“People have different perspectives of deer – some want to see them protected, others want them eradicated, still others want to manage numbers so they can hunt them,” she said.

Dr Bond believes it is important to understand underlying narratives in these perspectives and values, and the conflicts between them.

“I hope we can use these understandings to design public consultation processes and government policies that are responsive to Victorian communities,” Dr Bond said.

Several agencies are working on deer management in Victoria, including the collaborative Hume Regional Deer Forum in Northeast Victoria. As there has been little research undertaken on human-deer interaction to date, this research will help fill that gap.

Dr Bond’s initial research will investigate the history behind human-deer interaction in Victoria, how the human-deer conflict has been portrayed in traditional and social media since 2000, and which perspectives currently dominate public opinion in Victoria.

Dr Bond is aiming to collect stories on human-deer interactions from people in Northeast Victoria later this year. The project is funded by CSU Green.

Deer were first introduced into Victoria in the 1860s by the Acclimatisation Society of Victoria to help share and distribute different animals such as deer and goats for game or economic value.

Media Note:

For interviews and pictures with Dr Jennifer Bond, who is based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, contact CSU Media.

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