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Forest deer will avoid culls
12:30pm Saturday 9th March 2013 in News
EXTRA culls have been ruled out in the New Forest – despite a huge rise in the national deer population.
A report says Britain has more wild deer than at any time since the last Ice Age and says half the population should be shot each year to protect the countryside.
But the Forestry Commiss-ion says that target is already being achieved in the Forest, which is thought to contain at least 2,000 deer.
The commission’s most senior officer in the area, deputy surveyor Mike Seddon, said culls and road accidents killed about 1,000 deer each year.
But he agreed that Britain’s deer population was too high and called for a more co-ordinated approach to tackle the problem.
“Deer must be managed to keep them in balance with their habitat and prevent serious damage to trees, crops, gardens and other wildlife,” said Mr Seddon.
“Conservationists and foresters agree that deer populations are too high.
“There needs to be more co-ordinated deer management to reduce the damage they do, prevent traffic accidents and improve the health of the deer themselves. The animals can suffer when their numbers are too big for the habitat they’re living in.”
Mr Seddon said the commission employed professional keepers and wildlife rangers to manage deer in areas such as New Forest.
He added: “We make an annual census of deer numbers and use this information to calculate the cull required to maintain a healthy |population of deer that’s in balance with the forest habitat.”
The report was published by the University of East Anglia, which says 750,000 deer across the country should be shot each year.