Wednesday 29 January 2020

Deer Working Group report calls for a reduction in deer numbers

Today the Scottish Government published the final report of the independent Deer Working Group, The management of wild deer in Scotland. It's a detailed 374 page document that I've only had time to skim through so far. There are 99 recommendations, of which the key one is probably the need for new legislation so that other recommendations can be implemented. I also picked out a few others:

"The Working Group recommends that the Scottish Government should ensure that the role of wild deer in increasing the risk of Lyme disease is given greater prominence in its policies for deer management in Scotland, and that greater priority is given to that risk in considering the need to reduce deer densities in locations across Scotland."

" The Working Group recommends that the Scottish Government should recognise much more fully than at present, the need for changes to the current statutory and non-statutory system for the management of wild deer in Scotland if the Scottish Forestry Strategy 2019-29 is to be implemented successfully."

"The Working Group recommends that the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage should have a much greater focus on the need to improve the management of wild deer in the Cairngorms National Park, to reduce deer densities in many parts of the Park to protect and enhance the Park’s biodiversity."

Scottish Environment LINK, whose own deer report I wrote about here, has welcomed the report.  Mike Daniels, Head of Land Management at the John Muir Trust, says "We welcome the courage and clarity of the report which confirms that Scotland’s existing deer management procedures and practices need major reform. If we were designing a new system of deer management today in the context of climate change, biodiversity loss and the depopulation of fragile rural areas it would bear little resemblance to the ‘traditional sporting estate’ model found in large parts of the Highlands.”

This is an important report whose recommendations should be implemented by the Scottish Government as soon as possible.

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