A plan that would allow Scotland's native wild red and roe deer to apparently flourish at the expense of other species was revealed yesterday by the Inverness-based Deer Commission for Scotland.
It launched a consultation exercise on new management plans for Scotland's wild deer population over the next 15-20 years Ð and asked the public for its views on the thorny and at times emotive subject.
The commission sets out a vision in its consultation document in which the red and roe deer herd, estimated at around 750,000 animals, would continue to be managed and culled.
But it also revealed a proposal to dramatically increase culling levels in the fallow and sika herds Ð both of which threaten the native wild deer population through cross breeding and habitat destruction.
A fall in the numbers of non-native species and limiting them to defined areas would ultimately help the roe and red deer herds.
The commission also said it would prevent the muntjac deer Ð the UK's smallest and originally introduced from Asia Ð from establishing itself in the wild.
Launching the document, Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie said the consultation would help develop a clear vision for wild deer management.
Native deer were important to the Scottish economy, were part of the fabric of rural life and underpinned many jobs in remote areas, where stalking and tourism were essential. "But on the other hand they are regarded by certain landusers as a nuisance," he added.
Commission chairman Andrew Raven said there were no quick fixes to deer management in Scotland. "The commission is seeking views on a long-term vision for wild deer in Scotland which would maximise the economic, social and environmental benefits to society as a whole."
© Press & Journal, 23 rd March 2000
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