Deer release poses risks

As the hunting season gets underway in earnest, OSPRI and farmers are asking hunters to think again if they are considering illegally releasing and relocating deer into new areas.

Deer hunters can unintentionally spread bovine TB by moving or releasing deer from one area to another.

Over the years OSPRI has worked hard to eradicate TB in possums from large areas of New Zealand.

This work can all be undone by the reintroduction of TB infected deer with the potential of spill back of infection into the possum population.

Waikato farmer Leith Chick says Sika deer from the Central North Island in particular, pose a threat of infecting others if they are released in TB-free areas.

"Farmers who are getting deer released onto their land should be aware that they are exposing themselves to the risk of bringing TB to their farm.

"Ultimately, this also impacts the deer hunter because if TB is found in wildlife in the region any control measures taken may interrupt any existing hunting in that area."

Relocation and releasing of deer also has an adverse impact on the environment.

New populations of deer, or new species, create long-term damage to that environment that can be irreversible.

Deer browsing can damage native forests by feeding on forest plants, trees and seedlings.

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