A POPULATION explosion among deer in the North East and increasing occurrences of conflict between deer and humans has prompted a CSU researcher to get to the bottom of the problem.
Dr Jennifer Bond, from CSU Thurgoona’s Institute for Land, Water and Society, is conducting research investigating the history of human-deer interaction in Northern Victoria.
Her study will specifically analyse the impact different interest groups and community attitudes have in the formation of public policy.
“Human-wildlife conflict is essentially human-human conflict, around how people have different values when it comes to how these things should be managed,” Dr Bond said.
“What I find interesting and exciting about the deer case study is that it’s become more of an issue quite recently.
“When you look at deer as opposed to horse and brumby cases is that we have an opportunity now to understand where people are coming from before it gets bigger.
“There’s an chance to get in at the ground level and promote a collaborative approach, get people in the same room and understand the different attitudes.”
Dr Bond’s ultimate goal is for her research, in conjunction with other studies being undertaken by government departments and groups like the Hume Regional Deer Forum, to help establish a more collaborative approach to forming public policy.
Understanding the nuances of each side of the debate, including their similarities and differences, would be key.
“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,” Dr Bond said.
“People want to feel they have ownership over these policies, and in order to do that we need to understand the nuances of where they’re coming from – the cultural, geographical and political differences.”
Debate over the deer population has intensified in recent weeks.
Parks Victoria is continuing a population cull in the Alpine region, while Benambra MP Bill Tilley has called for strategies to control the population.
A motorbike rider and their passenger were recent;y hospitalised on after colliding with a deer near Wodonga.