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East Lancashire deer could be culled if population continues to grow
EXPERTS have said they would not oppose a larger cull of wild deer in East Lancashire if the population continues to grow.
It comes as scientists have recommended culling 50 to 60 per cent of deer nationally because the animals are destroying woodlands and wildlife habitat.
In Lancashire, annual culls of between 25 to 35 per cent are carried out to protect biodiversity, control the number of car accidents involving deer, and maintain a healthy deer population.
Alistair Boston, of the Deer Initiative, a national body promoting sustainable management of wild deer, said he believed that initiative was working well.
He said: “Many people would say Lancashire’s thriving roe deer population is a conservation success. As long as the animals are properly and humanely managed, they pose very little problem.
“It’s hard to predict how the population might change over the next five to ten years, but if there was a spike in numbers which threatened to disrupt the ecosystem, we would support a larger cull.
“However if land owners, local authorities, and management groups would work together to monitor and control the deer population, it wouldn’t get out of hand in the first place.”
It is thought there are around 3,000 wild deer in the county, with the majority being roe deer.The animals consume large quantities of wild flowers and bulbs, depleting the food source for woodland dwelling birds.
Alan Wright, of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are lucky to have these magnificent creatures here, and the numbers aren’t causing a problem, but if they were, we would support a humane cull.”
The Country Land and Business Association, which farmers and rural company owners in Lancashire, has said its members would support a cull.
Dorothy Fairburn, director at the organisation, said: “This would help prevent damage to both woodland and crops, and further bolster the growing market for venison where availability of supplies is a real issue.”
According to the Deer Initiative around 74,000 car accidents involved deer nationally each year.
A spokeswoman for Lancashire police said: “Parts of East Lancashire are semi-rural and as such there have been instances of deer being involved in road traffic collisions, however this doesn’t pose a major problem for us.”
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