South Coast Rusa – Make the Beach

Every year news articles start rolling in about the South Coast deer problem when the rusa rut kicks off. Deer are seen in spots they would not typically be found throughout the year as young stags start roaming. With this comes big headlines like deer explosion, deer are out of control, and the feral deer problem is spreading.

Many of the spots reporting deer are new estates that not all that long ago were farm and bushland. The deer sightings are more a result of the urban sprawl as opposed to out of control numbers.

The Illawarra Mercury this week reported that deer had reached the beach after rusa were spotted at Port Kembla.

If we needed any more proof of how far Wollongong’s feral deer problem had spread, here it is.

These two wild deer shocked Port Kembla residents when they turned up on Surfside Drive – just 300m from the beach – at dinner time.

On Wednesday night, Port Kembla resident Maria Ciccone acted quickly to photograph the animals so she could warn neighbours.

“We were just coming back from an early dinner, we drove up our driveway near the beach – I said to my husband that’s a

funny looking dog!” she said.

“Then we realised it was a deer; there were two of them there. We’ve lived here over 20 years and I’ve never seen a deer in Port Kembla.”

When she posted the picture online, other neighbours said they had been there for 30 years and never seen a deer.

Experts say deer are most likely to be found in urban areas in winter, which is the deer’s breeding season. Dominant bucks enforce their territorial superiority in their preferred habitat, driving out younger males who have to go in search of new territory.

Deer are a familiar menace in Figtree, Keiraville, Helensburgh an Otford, but they have been being spotted much further afield – with critics saying their numbers are out of control.

Sightings in Austinmer, Fairy Meadow and now Port Kembla may be indications there is a new “normal”.

Ms Ciccone said the deer were well behaved, staying off the road.

“We slowed down the car because I’d heard of a lot of horror stories about them jumping on your car,” she said.

“They stopped … we looked at them, and they looked at us.

“They were good deer – they were running on the walkways, in and out of people’s driveways, up and down the street. They didn’t seem frightened.”




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