Wild Deer

Wild Deer
Mammal living in a herd that eats then regurgitates, before chewing the resultant cud and digesting a second time
The Deer Initiative was established in 1995 to promote the sustainable management of wild deer in England. They tell us that six species of deer exist in the wild in the UK. Red and Roe Deer are the only truly native species, although Fallow Deer are now also normally considered part of our natural heritage, having been introduced to the UK in the 11th Century and possibly before. Sika, Muntjac, and Chinese Water Deer were all introduced within the past 150 years. These six species differ in their geographic distribution, abundance, population growth rate, behaviour, and impacts. It is widely accepted that deer are more abundant and widespread now than at any time in the past 1000 years. Deer populations have increased rapidly in recent decades due to several factors, including milder winters, changes to agriculture, increased woodland cover and greater connectivity between green spaces in urban areas. At present, there may be as many as 2 million deer in the UK. However, accurate assessment of deer numbers is very difficult because deer are secretive animals and are free to roam the landscape. With a lack of natural predators in the UK, the role of human control becomes more important. An estimated 350,000 deer are culled each year. Road accidents are the second biggest cause of deer mortality. Despite this, deer are continuing to expand and it appears that current mortality rates are not high enough to prevent the rise in deer populations.

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Posted by Graham Riminton

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