Human voices, including ABC presenters, deter feral deer from Tasmanian farm

The dulcet tones of ABC broadcaster Richard Fidler are not normally associated with fear. But that appears to be the case if you’re a deer. Audio from Fidler’s popular long-running radio program Conversations has been used in a study examining whether human voices are an effective tool in managing the deer population.

Tasmania, along with other states, has been grappling with what to do about an explosion in deer numbers in rural and wilderness areas.

University of Tasmania honours student Lucy Turnbull is exploring the concept of using the human voice to deter deer from an area. By stimulating a fear of predation response (i.e. hunting pressure), human voices can keep deer out from an area for extended periods of time. So far, the deer have not returned to the area where the program was played, suggesting this technique could be used to protect assets from deer at very localised scales, such as regenerating stands of pencil pine in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area, where deer are now threatening the unique and sensitive ecosystem, or fields of crops.

It is important to remember that this technique alone is not enough to protect Tasmania from the myrid of negative impacts deer are having on the environment, agriculture, and public saftey. This management tool is only suitable for use in protecting small areas from deer and is only effective in conjunction with other control methods.

Read the full article here on the ABC.