Reducing numbers

deer grazing beside the Royal Ballet School

deer grazing beside the Royal Ballet School

At this time of year in Richmond Park, I shudder when I see official notices warning visitors about the deer cull. The park is closed at certain times while its resident population of deer is ‘reduced’. It’s always a treat to see the park’s different herds of deer, some pale and dappled, others a darker brown, but all so beautifully camouflaged that you sometimes don’t notice them until you’re quite close by. You can almost stumble on them in the bracken.  

I worry about what’s going to happen to the deer, and how weird it is that I know about it and they don’t. I’ve read that the deer population rises too quickly in the protected setting of the park, where there are no predators; also, many of the deer are infected with a bacterium that can spread, via ticks, to humans and cause Lyme Disease. But it seems unfair that we should have the power to ‘cull’ these healthy, graceful animals who are such a welcome sight in the city. What if the deer took it into their heads that our numbers were growing too rapidly within the park, and that they must take action to keep things in proportion?  ‘Deer are wild animals’, says the notice. ‘Their behaviour is unpredictable and they can move with great strength and speed.’

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This entry was posted on Sunday 28th February 2010 at 10:00am and is filed under Daily Life, Musings. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Reducing numbers”

  1. Alison said on

    Have they continued the tradition in the deer park at Magdalen College, Oxford, of having the same number of deer as College dons (so that if a deer pegs out they have to shoot one of the dons …)? Enjoy your blog hugely!

  2. Susan Tomes said on

    Thanks, Alison. It must get confusing at Magdalen whenever there are stag parties!

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