Spot the deer

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

HE Bri­tish Deer So­ci­ety (BDS) hopes as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble will take part in its 2016 Deer Sur­vey with the aim of mak­ing it the most ex­ten­sive and ac­cu­rate cen­sus yet. There could be up to two mil­lion wild deer in the Uk—the orig­i­nal na­tives red and roe, plus fal­low, munt­jac, sika and Chi­nese wa­ter deer; the pop­u­la­tion is be­lieved to have dou­bled since 1999. ‘It’s of­ten said that there are too many deer and it is im­por­tant that we have the most up-to-date in­for­ma­tion in or­der to in­form pub­lic de­bate on deer man­age­ment,’ says BDS chair­man, Michael Thick.

The cen­sus will run all year; peo­ple are urged to sub­mit sight­ings even if they think the species they’ve seen may have been recorded pre­vi­ously (www.bds­deer­sur­vey.org.uk).

De­spite the Brexit vote, Ja­panese sika deer may be sub­ject to EU legis-

Tla­tion that seeks to cur­tail the spread of in­va­sive non-na­tive species. BDS sci­en­tific ad­viser Alis­tair Ward has told mem­bers that pro­pos­als for the re­view of the EU list of In­va­sive Non­Na­tive Species (INNS) of Union con­cern now in­clude sika, which are sim­i­lar in size and coat to fal­low deer, but are darker in colour and were in­tro­duced from the Far East in 1860.

The new reg­u­la­tion re­quires mem­ber states to con­sider tak­ing ac­tion on species that could cause ad­verse im­pact. The first lists, of 23 an­i­mals (in­clud­ing the Reeves’s munt­jac) and 14 plants (in­clud­ing Ja­panese knotweed), were ap­proved last De­cem­ber and sika have now been put for­ward for con­sid­er­a­tion.

‘The EU reg­u­la­tion is prag­matic,’ Dr Ward points out. ‘It doesn’t blan­ket all alien species as bad, but, in some in­stances, it ad­vo­cates erad­i­ca­tion.’ He adds that it would be pos­si­ble to elim­i­nate sika in Wales, how­ever, they’re likely to be close to the turn­ing point in Eng­land and munt­jac are beyond it.

He ad­vo­cates that sika in Scot­land and both sika and munt­jac in Eng­land are now best ad­dressed by lo­cal con­trol. PL

Here to stay?: send in your sight­ings of deer such as this sika stag from Ame in Dorset

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