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Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer Culling: Why It’s Necessary

In the UK, deer populations are booming. Muntjac and Chinese water deer in particular are causing problems for farmers and landowners. These animals are destroying crops, flowers, and trees. That’s why it’s necessary to cull these herds regularly. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of deer culling and why it’s necessary for the UK.

Rising deer population

Over the past 30 years, each of our six species of wild deer has expanded in number and range, some significant and others modestly, yet all having an impact on their environment or human activity.

Deer breed more rapidly than is required merely to keep their population up as a food species. 100 female roe deer, for instance, uncontrolled but allowing for known birth and mortality rates, may reach a thousand in 10 years if they are allowed to do so.

Such a population can only be maintained by exploring new areas, as distribution now covers every viable county of the UK.

How many deer are there in the UK?

In rural and semi-rural locations, there are thought to be close to two million Muntjac, Chinese Water deer, red deer, roe deer, fallow deer and sika deer. It’s the greatest level for 1,000 years.

Upon reading data from Deer Initiative (which promotes sustainable deer management), numbers have almost doubled since 1999. The impact that deer have on crops and wildlife has driven scientists to advocate for an increase in culling levels.

Oh deer, what’s the problem?

Let’s take a look at some of the issues deer are causing around the UK:

Cost of damage

According to the Forestry Commission of Scotland, deer damage costs plantations and other commercial woodlands £4.5 million per year.

Sites of Special Interest

Approximately 8,000 hectares of woodland with Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) status are now in ‘less than ideal‘ or ‘recoveringcondition owing to the impacts of deer. This is probably an underestimate of the whole situation.

Road traffic incidents

It is estimated that there are around 74,000 road traffic accidents per year involving deer. 10-20 people are also killed as a result of deer to expand on that statistic.

Crops

It is estimated that Muntjac and other UK species of deer cause damage to crops costing farmers £4.3m per year. This includes both financial losses from crop damage and the cost of fencing to keep deer out.

The decline of woodland birds

The expansion of Muntjac and Chinese Water deer populations is having a negative impact on woodland birds. Muntjac browse the young growth of trees and shrubs, preventing regeneration and leading to a decline in the number of suitable nesting sites for birds.

Why are there so many Muntjac and Chinese Water deer in the UK?

Muntjac and Chinese Water deer are not native to the UK. They were introduced to Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by landowners who wanted to create a new hunting opportunity. There are other reasons for population growth, including:

Good habitat and food availability

The UK’s landscape provides good habitat and plenty of food for Muntjac and Chinese Water deer. Muntjac, in particular, can survive in a wide range of habitats, from dense woodland to open parkland.

Lack of predators

Muntjac and Chinese Water deer have no natural predators in the UK. The only animals that pose a threat to these deer are humans.

Mating is not seasonal

Muntjac and Chinese Water deer are able to breed throughout the year, meaning they can have around 3 fawns every 2 years. This high reproductive rate contributes to population growth.

Protection

Deer were no longer considered vermin under the 1963 Deer Act in England and Wales, and under the 1959 Deer Act in Scotland. The use of firearms (shotguns) was prohibited under both acts.

What is being done to control Muntjac and Chinese Water deer populations?

There are a number of methods that can be used to control Muntjac and Chinese Water deer populations. These include:

  • Culling
  • Fencing
  • Repellents

Culling is the most effective method of population control. It involves the controlled killing of deer in order to reduce their numbers.

Fencing can be used to exclude deer from areas where they are not wanted, such as crops or woodland.

Repellents can be used to deter deer from entering areas where they are not wanted. Repellents work by making the area unattractive to deer.

Conclusion

Muntjac and Chinese Water deer are causing a lot of damage to crops and wildlife in the UK. The population of these deer has doubled in recent years, and scientists are advocating for an increase in culling levels in order to control their numbers.

Muntjac and Chinese Water deer were introduced to Britain by landowners who wanted to create a new hunting opportunity, and they have no natural predators in the UK. Culling is the most effective way to control their numbers.

Muntjac and Chinese Water deer are able to breed throughout the year, meaning they can have around three fawns every two years. This high reproductive rate contributes to population growth.

Fencing and repellents can be used to deter deer from entering areas where they are not wanted. Muntjac and Chinese Water deer are causing a lot of damage to crops and wildlife in the UK, and culling is the most effective way to control their numbers.

Do you think Muntjac and Chinese Water deer culling is necessary?

People also ask

How do I keep muntjacs out of my garden?

Muntjac deer are attracted to gardens because they offer a food source and shelter. The best way to keep muntjacs out of your garden is to remove anything that attracts them, such as food and water sources, and to make the area less hospitable by installing a fence or barrier.

Is muntjac good eating?

Muntjac meat is lean and has a strong, gamey flavour. It can be tough if not cooked properly, but when cooked correctly it can be quite tender. Muntjac is often compared to venison, and it is sometimes used as a cheaper alternative to venison in recipes.

Do muntjacs dig?

Muntjac deer are known to dig small holes in the ground with their hooves. Muntjac deer will also dig up roots and bulbs when they are looking for food.

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