Coun­try Mouse

Deer oh deer

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

IT is es­ti­mated that there are 74,000 ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing deer each year, in which 10 to 20 peo­ple are killed and more than 700 in­jured. Col­li­sions peak now in May— a quar­ter of all ac­ci­dents hap­pen this month—as well as in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber. Most ac­ci­dents take place be­tween sun­set and mid­night and again at sun­rise.

The deer pop­u­la­tion has dou­bled to more than two mil­lion in the past two decades and the num­ber of col­li­sions is likely to con­tinue to in­crease. This ex­plo­sion in deer num­bers—there are more in Bri­tain than at any time since the last Ice Age—has also re­sulted in se­vere dam­age to im­por­tant wood­lands, af­fect­ing both bio­di­ver­sity and re­gen­er­a­tion. Mun­t­jac, pos­si­bly our most nu­mer­ous deer, are dev­as­tat­ing our na­tive blue­bells. Some birds, such as the nightin­gale and black­cap, have seen their num­bers fall sharply as a di­rect re­sult.

The harsh fact is that a ma­jor cull is re­quired. It has been es­ti­mated that a re­duc­tion of 50% of the pop­u­la­tion is nec­es­sary to pro­tect the coun­try­side. I can’t see how this is go­ing to hap­pen with­out gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion, but, with­out it, there are go­ing to be a lot more car crashes and a lot less coun­try­side. MH

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