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Deer population soars to 2 M in England, are they planning to shoot them?

The Deer population in England reached two million, a level not seen since the Norman conquest of England achieved

By Wahid Bhat
New Update
Deer population soars to 2m in England, are they planning to shoot them?

The Deer population in England reached two million, a level not seen since the Norman conquest of England achieved over a five-year period from 1066 AD to 1071 AD under the leadership of William, the Conqueror.

Deer population in England

According to the news of The Sun, while restaurants serving venison were closed, the number of deer increased like a balloon during the curfew. And the non-native deer species muntjac and sika brought the total number from 450,000 in 1972 to two million.

Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith will announce a month-long super-fast government consultation in the coming weeks. The proposed "deer management strategy" aims to reduce their numbers to protect forests and plant species at risk.

Normally, the population of Deer increases by 30% each year, expanding by 600,000 between May and June. After that, they are reduced by the annual sacrifice that takes place.

However, since the first nationwide lockdown in March 2020, deer in Britain have gone through two breeding cycles with reduced culling activities, resulting in a larger than usual population expansion.

The slaughter that took place in 2020 was only 20% of the size of the usual slaughter due to a lack of demand for venison. 80% of deer typically go to the UK catering or hospitality industry.

However, the ongoing pandemic has severely affected these sectors, greatly reducing the demand for venison in the UK. There is simply an oversupply of venison on the market and such forces are dictating the fate of nature and the ecosystems in which deer roam.

173,000 deer shot each year

The published in 2011 by the British Shooting and Conservation Association reveal that in England alone around 173,000 deer are shot each year, without specifying either age or gender. Other agencies, such as the Forestry Commission, break down the hunts, pointing out that in the season that ended in March of last year, 11,000 deer were killed, of which about 5,000 were adult females, 4,000 males and the rest were young animals of both genders.

At this point one of the most bitter issues of the controversy arises, since the latest laws approved by the Government allow the shooting of orphaned pups.

What species of deer are found in the UK?

There are six species of deer found in the wild in Britain, including red deer, roe deer, fallow deer, muntjac, Chinese water deer and sika deer.

Chinese water deer

The Chinese Water Deer is a non-native species brought from Chinese populations along the Yangtze River where they are on the IUCN 'red list' as a vulnerable species. They are said to be the most primitive living members of the Cervidae family, in part because the goat bears large canines or fangs and lacks antlers, these traits surpassed that of other deer. This makes the Chinese water deer a biologically important animal.

Chinese water deer, Photo credit: Flickr

Fallow deer

Fallows are considered naturalized, though reintroduced species. Although the fallow deer were present in Britain about 400,000 years ago, later glaciers confined them to the Mediterranean basin. There are no reliable records of them being imported alive into England before the Norman Conquest and then widely kept in parks for both food and ornament. They were also preserved for hunting in the wild, eg. in Epping Forest and New Forest.

Fallow deer, Photo credit: Flickr

Muntjac deer

At least seven muntjac species are known, with a natural distribution from Pakistan to Java and north to mainland China. Two species were introduced to the UK in the past:

The larger Indian muntjac was brought to Woburn Park in about 1900. It was removed from the park soon after, but a small population survived in the wild until 1925. The smaller Reeves' muntjac was introduced and developed before 1900 and spread rapidly. surrounded areas.

Muntjac deer, Photo credit: Flickr

Red deer

The red deer is Britain's largest native land mammal (adult deer weigh up to 190 kg and 140 cm at the withers). There have been laws to protect red deer since the Saxon times, and they have survived in varying numbers from the Middle Ages to modern times.

In England, the main concentrations are in the Lake District with a wide local herd distribution in southwest England, East Anglia and elsewhere. There are few isolated herds in Wales. Some populations, particularly those in the west of England, may be considered indigenous, but even these may have had new blood inflows in the past. Others owe their origins to their escape from the parks or to deliberate promotions.

Red deer, Photo credit: Flickr

Sika deer

Most sika in Britain is of Japanese origin and was first brought to Ireland, Powerscourt, and from there to various places in England and Scotland in about 1860. Some were deliberately released, eg. In Kintyre, New Forest, Dorset and Bowland Forest.

The deer from Bowland is thought to be the Manchurian squid. Others fled the parks and established feral populations, particularly during the two World Wars.

(Deer population in England) Sika deer, Photo credit: Flickr

Roe deer

The roe deer is primarily a mixed and small woodland animal, but has the ability to adapt to a wide variety of habitats. It colonized northern conifer forests and penetrated many towns, exploiting gardens, parks, and other open spaces where food and cover were available. It can also be seen in open farmlands.

The roe deer is a native species that has existed in Britain since at least the Mesolithic period. However, possibly due to overfishing, it became extremely scarce in the middle ages and by 1700 was considered extinct in southern and central England and all of Wales.

(Deer population in England) Roe deer, Photo credit: Flickr

It has also disappeared from most parts of Scotland, except in the Northern Highlands. There were re-entries to England after 1800, and colonies were established in Dorset, Sussex, and East Anglia. At the same time, there was a gradual recolonization of much of northern England and Scotland. Today, the roe deer occurs in most of southern England, throughout northern England and Scotland, and continues to spread to the Midlands and Wales.

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