Monday, March 10, 2008

UK NEWS: MP Outrage Over Deer Cull, Translocation Alternative Encouraged

Nearly 1,200 deer have been culled in Richmond Park in the past six years, figures show.

The revelation has prompted calls for the Royal Parks Agency not to shoot so many of their red and fallow deer as part of the management of the herd and instead relocate the animals.

The number of deer shot has risen from 168 in 2002 to at least 237 in the current cull, which ends on Thursday.

Those which are shot include young animals, elderly beasts and those with imperfections which could lead to birth defects in future generations.

Today, Richmond Park Liberal Democrat MP Susan Kramer said she was shocked by how many deer were being killed. She said: "In my mind I have always thought it was a fairly limited number of elderly deer.

"It would be nice if people could see if there was an alternative, where the deer could be removed or relocated.

"We would all be much more relieved if there was a way of managing this without requiring a major cull."

Sian Berry, the Green candidate for London Mayor, backed the cull but was concerned that carrying it out at night may not be the most humane way to thin out the herd. She said: "It may be done to spare the public the spectacle but it may not be the best way to ensure you target the correct animals and that it is the least cruel and clean way."

The Royal Parks Agency said the aim of the deer culling in Richmond Park was to keep the population at about 650 for "optimum deer welfare". Currently, there are 300 red and 350 fallow deer.

A spokeswoman said: "The current stocking densities have been determined by scientific study and on the advice of experts. If we did not limit the size of the herd then there would not be enough food available for the deer.

"If populations were not controlled then there would be welfare issues with the herd such as low body fat, malnutrition and high incidence of death from exposure to cold in winter."

Rejecting the idea of closing the park for a daytime cull, she added: "The cull is carried out in a humane way by highly-skilled staff with many years of experience."

The spokeswoman said the deer could not be relocated into the wild and tranquilising and moving them would be "stressful" for the animals.

The park's red and fallow population peaked in 1985 at about 1,000 head of deer. A further, 366 deer have been killed in Bushy Park, near Hampton Court, since 2002.

Deer have been kept in London's royal parks since medieval times when they were hunted.


1 comment:

David Kenyon said...


Interesting that you picked up this story from the UK. It clearly demonstrates the need for education of the general public and politicians alike on the need for a balance between all flora and fauna. Deer impacts can have a very detrimental effect on a wide range of species if populations are allowed to increase beyond the capacity of the habitate to sustain - particularly in confined areas such as Windsor park. I would be interested in discussing further and comparing research and experiences. David Kenyon of the British Deer Society