SYDNEY, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Tasmanian academics have warned that the state's wild deer population will reach one million unless properly controlled.
Fallow deer were introduced into the island state in the 1830s for hunting but the population has skyrocketed in recent years.
Tasmania's Department of Primary Industry said there could be between 80,000 and 100,000 deer currently in the state, a significant increase on previous predictions of 30,000 to 40,000.
A group of the state's foremost academics, led by Wildlife conservation expert Chris Johnson from the University of Tasmania (UTAS), have warned that the population could reach one million by 2050.
"In a study published last year, we tried to model the magnitude of that potential increase, and came up with some numbers that were a little bit startling," Johnson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday.
"Deer could occupy close to two-thirds of this state and their abundance could increase to the extent that we might have a total population of something like a million, which is not a surprising number ... if you compare the population density that compares with the density of other parts of the world."
The threat posed by wild deer was so significant for farmers Marcus Griffin and Samantha Hogg that the pair took the radical step of spending a year building a 15-km electric fence around the boundary of their farm.
"It's funny, when we came onto the place the first day I saw this mob of 300 deer, and thought, 'wow isn't that fantastic?'" Griffin said.
"It was only then when I took over the place and I started seeing mobs and mobs and mobs of 300 and 400 deer that we realised we've got a bit more of a problem than we first thought."
Among the proposals being considered to curb the population growth is allowing hunters to butcher deer they have killed to sell to supermarkets as well as extending the deer hunting season.