British deer might just be the next big thing in wildlife management, as many people speculate the practice of shooting the animals will soon be a thing of the past.
Reports from as far back as 2007 highlight the prevalence of deer in Britain’s rural spaces. It comes after deer are culled in the United States as a means of keeping the size of the herd in check. Could this be the solution to the population problem?
Deer are natural growths, relatively harmless to humans, as they move up the land surface. Following their natural growth rate, they quickly grow to create lush trees and bushes and growing piles of their own seeds, which force the ground to become increasingly slippery. That means deer have a tendency to stampede and destroy grasslands in their path.
Typically the population grows by up to eight percent a year. Not only are the deer damaging grassland, but their population is increasing because of the high quality food provided by trees, shrubs and thickets, which make farming easier. (“Because the forests and trees are of a good quality there is high productivity of crops and livestock,” Cat Burgess, the chief executive of the Kings Langley Bishton Wildlife Trust said in an interview with Hunting and Field magazine in 2000. “It’s wonderful food for the deer, and there is always a growing number. The grasslands are held by more deer because of better climate.”
The phenomenon is currently occurring in the English county of Gloucestershire, and although it is widely seen as a population issue, the data is not completely conclusive. A study from 2011 found deer incursions into land affected just 1.1 percent of total wildlife habitat, while a 2016 survey found the problem to affect 1.4 percent of rangelands.
Experts believe the province of Gloucestershire has come to the conclusion that culling deer might be the answer to the problem, a move they hope will help to improve grassland regeneration.