A Woonona man is lucky to be alive after his ute hit two Rusa deer at speed as they ran onto Memorial Drive in Wollongong in the early hours of Friday morning.
Socratis Kyriacou was headed south on his way to work around 3.30am when the feral animals jumped over a median strip and in front of his Holden Commodore ute, killing one animal and injuring the other.
His estranged wife Lyza came to the rescue, as well as officers from Wollongong Police District, to move the dead deer out of the way of other vehicles.
"The car was a mess," Mrs Kyriacou told the Mercury. "It was a complete write-off."
Mr Kyriakou was able to walk away relatively unscathed from the incident aside from a sore arm and cracked front tooth.
However, his wife believes there needs to be more signage along Memorial Drive alerting drivers to the problem as well as appropriate fencing to deter deer from running onto the road.
"There's going to be loss of life, if it's that bad where they're coming onto main roads and we're doing 80 to 90 km/h along there, there is going to be loss of life," Mrs Kyriacou said. "It's only going to be a matter of time."
if it's that bad where they're coming onto main roads and we're doing 80 to 90 km/h along there, there is going to be loss of life.Lyza Kyriacou
Feral deer are becoming on of the nation's worst pest animals, with the federal government launching a dedicated website earlier in August including a "deer watch" register for the public to list their sightings and damage.
The National Feral Deer Action Plan is currently being developed by a national working group, led by Dr Annelise Wiebkin, the National Deer Management Co-ordinator.
Feral deer cause damage to Australia's natural environment and agricultural businesses by trampling plants, grazing, and ring-barking young trees, fouling waterholes, causing soil erosion, spreading weeds and potentially transmitting livestock diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease.
In May this year, a Senate inquiry revealed there were 212 times a deer was struck by trains in the Illawarra in the five years from 2011-16.
In 2019, Cordeaux Heights motorcyclist Tim Johnson escaped serious injury when he hit a deer in the middle of Harry Graham Drive at Kembla Heights.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.