Tuesday, April 06, 2010

UK NEWS: Deer-Vehicle Collsions Number 74,000 Per Year

The soaring numbers of wild deer are causing havoc on Britain's roads, devastating ancient woodlands and ruining gardens, wildlife experts warned yesterday.

Conservationists say the UK's deer population has doubled since the 1970s and is now close to 2million - a level not seen since the time of the Norman Conquest.

According to new figures from the National Deer Collisions Project, the animals cause 74,000 road accidents each year - and kill up to a dozen drivers and passengers.

Yesterday, Dr Jochen Langbein, co-ordinator of the project, warned that the number of accidents would rise unless the creatures were better controlled.

He said 100 people are injured and up to 12 killed each year when deer run into roads.

Last month an inquest heard how a father of two died when a deer crashed through his windscreen. The animal had been hit by another vehicle near Basingstoke, Hampshire, pushing it into the path of his van.

Insurers pay out around £15million a year to repair cars hit by the animals.

The worst accident blackspots are in the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex where more than 300 deer are hit by cars each year.

Accidents involving the animals are often serious because they leap up if they are startled while crossing roads. Some scientists believe they see beams from headlights as solid objects and try to jump over them - ending up crashing into windscreens.

Since the 1970s deer numbers have been rising by three to five per cent a year, and most conservationists agree that 30 per cent of deer have to be shot each year to stop numbers going up.

The muntjac species is a particular nuisance.

Just 20 inches tall, they breed all year round and can be a massive pest for gardeners.

Source: Daily Mail

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