http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/7429164/Urban-deer-a-growing-problem-for-UK.htmlNatures lesson being that the un-hunted are more dangerous to humans then the hunted as population increases cause more problems for human life & limb.
Urban deer a growing problem for UK
First it was foxes, then it was squirrels. Now it is deer causing a menace in Britain's towns and cities.
By Louise Gray
Published: 8:00AM GMT 13 Mar 2010
Half a million deer need to be culled in order to protect Britain's countryside
Half a million deer need to be culled in order to protect Britain's countryside Photo: PA
The "kings of the forest" have been spotted on roundabouts, in cemeteries and on golf courses as the population explodes across the UK.
The animals not only damage trees and spread disease but are responsible for causing more than 74,000 road accidents every year, including up to 20 fatalities.
The problem is so bad that a major conference is being held this weekend in Warwickshire, Deer Management 2010, to work out the best way to deal with "urban deer".
Experts from the US, where the "Bambi in the back garden" phenomenon has sparked national debate, will argue that relocation and contraception have proved ineffective and the only way to deal with deer in the city is a cull.
The Deer Initiative, a charity mostly funded by Government, is currently carrying out research on urban deer for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on better ways to manage the growing population.
The latest figures estimate there are up to two million deer in the UK, the highest level for 1,000 years. Currently around 350,000 deer are killed in Britain every year, mostly by rifle.
But there is little control in cities as it is expensive for local authorities to trap and shoot the deer. Anecdotal evidence of problems is growing. Two years ago a 20 stone stag stopped rush hour traffic in Milton Keynes, while in Glasgow the animals are being illegally poached with packs of dogs or air rifles.
Peter Watson, director of the Deer Initiative, said deer have moved into the cities as the population rises across the country due to a run of warm winters and lack of natural predators.
He said the territorial nature of most species mean deer move into new areas as the population grows and the suburbs have proved good feeding grounds for shrubs and young trees.
This winter even more roe deer and red deer have been seen because cities are warmer and there are more young plants to eat during the cold weather. Non-native species like fallow, muntjac and sika breed faster and are smaller making it easier for them to move into urban settings. These species will thrive in scruffy habitats such as overgrown railway cuttings or disused building sites.
In the countryside a major concern about deer is the spread of cattle disease like bovine tuberculosis and foot-and-mouth but in the city the worry is more about the growth in tick-bourn diseases like Lyme disease that can spread to pets and humans. The animals can also strip bark from trees and eat precious plants like roses.
But the main problem is road accidents. The National Deer Vehicle Collisions Project estimates estimate there are 74,000 accidents caused by deer every year, of which 44 per cent are in urban areas.
Mr Watson said culls may have to take place in cities in the future. The venison could be sold to repay at least some of the cost.
"Whatever happens there will be more deers in towns in the future and we just have to deal with that by either learning to live with it or dealing with the consequence. Generally, dealing with the problem may well mean culling the deer," he said.
The RSPCA agreed culls may have to be carried out in cities, as long as deer fences and other preventive measures have been put in place first and the animals are killed humanely by trapping and shooting.
"If deer are causing a significant problem in a particular area then, at present, there may not be any practical option for resolving such problems but culling," a spokesman said.
Ian Rotherham, Professor of Environmental Geography at Sheffield Hallam University and expert in urban animals, has carried out research into the growth of the deer population in cities. On the outskirts of Sheffield he recorded 150 sightings of red deer in 2008, compared to just three in 1980.
He said urban deer are becoming part of the city landscape just like foxes, squirrels and even badgers. But he said humans can live with deer in the city and suggested introducing "deer passes" like landscaped flyovers on motorways to reduce motor accidents and fencing around gardens.
"Some people are not keen on foxes in their garden but most people love them. It is the same with urban deer," he said. "There are issues but we can learn to live with them."
:: If you have any video footage of deer in your neighborhood please email us at firstname.lastname@example.orgA lot of people are to slow & ignorant to face the truth of over population problems causing habitat destruction to the point where the animals lose their ability to thrive. They also are too callous to understand that a family member killed in an auto accident has a ripple effect in a human community that is unmatched in the deer family.