Deer Impact on Royal National Park Mangroves

A marine biologist has captured on video the impact of rusa deer on mangroves growing in the Royal National Park.

The deer were first introduced into the Royal National Park in 1906 for exhibition purposes. Seven rusa deer were released into a fenced area which was known as Deer Park. However, the deer soon escaped and since that time they have been uncontrollably breeding, reaching a population of several thousand today.

Professor William Gladstone, a marine biologist from the from University of Technology Sydney, has recorded on video the damaging impact the deer population have been making on the mangroves. The impact has happened on several fronts including the deer feeding on the mangrove leaves as well as them trampling on the roots of the mangroves. The damage is increasing over time as the deer population grows and they habitate the mangrove areas.

The mangroves are an important nursery ground for nearly all major angling fish including yellowfin bream, flat-tail sea-mullet, luderick and sand whiting which are caught in the Port Hacking River.  Many crustaceans such as soldier and blue swimmer crabs feed off the leaf litter the mangroves provide.