Fallow deer (Dama dama)

​Date published: April 2014

Assessment Summary

Fallow deer (Dama dama dama sub-species only) were initially introduced to Tasmania in 1836 for the purpose of hunting.  They are currently found in significant numbers in the wild in Tasmania and are currently listed as Schedule 4 Partly Protected under the Nature Conservation Act 2002. Farmed deer are managed under the Deer Farming Registration Act which contains provisions or minimum fencing standards to ensure that the species do not escape. However there have been a number of escapes and apparent releases of the species. 

A number of public submissions were received on this species profile and the opinions expressed varied significantly. The species was clearly risk assessed as posing an extreme risk to Tasmania, however as the species is already widely established in the wild further consideration was given to potentially allowing import of the species. The Technical Assessment Panel recommended that imports of fallow deer not be permitted based on the following key issues:

  • It is clear that fallow deer have potential to cause significant environmental damage and impact on a variety of agricultural enterprises.
  • It is the current belief that Tasmania has only one sub-species of fallow deer and any import would potentially allow the import of Mesopotamian fallow deer (Dama dama mesopotamica).
  • There is always the possibility of escapes from a captive environment. Should D.d. mesopotamica escape from a captive situation this would likely lead to interbreeding between the two sub-species. This would likely lead to changes in both the physical characteristics of the wild population (morphological changes to deer antlers potentially leading to diminished trophy value and increase in body mass potentially leading to increased trampling, grazing and browsing pressure) and changes to the distribution within Tasmania.
  • It was recognised that D.d.mesopotamica in the wild extends beyond the range of D.d.dama, particularly in relation to higher altitudes.  This could lead to extending the range of deer or speeding the spread of the range of the species in Tasmania.  This spread could include extending the range further into the World Heritage Area, consequently impacting on the values of the World Heritage Area.
  • There are considerable difficulties in clearly delineating the two sub-species for positive identification either morphologically or genetically to ensure that only D.d dama is imported.
Assessment Documentation

  Risk Assessment: Fallow deer (Dama dama)   (148Kb)

  Fallow Deer Species Profile   (453Kb)


Wildlife Management
Level 5, 134 Macquarie Street, Hobart
GPO Box 44
Phone: 03 6165 4305
Email: wildlife.reception@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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