Mark ♦ March 9, 2013 ♦ 19 Comments
Will be interesting if the antis allow this cull as Badgers are over populated similar to Deer so if they are so opposed to a Badger cull the same number of people should be against a Deer cull in my opinion.
Dennis, Different argument as to extent of populations and reason for cull.
Mark, Let us presume a cull of deer goes ahead and I can’t see why there shouldn’t be a management scheme. If they cull deer in Glos and Somerset surely this then must skew any results that follow any badger cull.
Bob,lots of similarity’s also in the sense both have increased in numbers,perhaps even Badgers increase %wise more than Deer.Badgers perhaps even doing more damage than Deer even perhaps if we ignore farmers problems as it seems Badgers infecting wildlife with TB which could be here forever unless steps taken very soon.
To my mind the only different in reasons which I do not agree are the compellin ones is that farmers want one,conservationists the other.Personally I think it is way past the time that conservationists found out if Badgers are seriously infecting other wild species and if that is happening we desperately need to do something about it immediately.
To my mind those against Badger cull have to be against Deer cull.The red herring that Deer are introduced species is rubbish as at least two types of Deer are not introductions and a cull will take those out as well.
“To my mind those against Badger cull have to be against Deer cull”.
I’m in favour of a deer cull, principally to try and prevent the great Oliver Rackham’s grim prediction that the majority of our ancient woodlands “…will have the guts eaten out of them by deer or sheep”, from actually happening.
On the other hand; I’m against a badger cull, because having looked at the evidence, I feel it could make a dire situation even worse. Every week, I see with my own eyes the terrible effects of bTB on farmer’s livelihoods and the pain and distress that this causes. If I felt culling would work, I’d be willing to pull the trigger myself.
No one seems able to explain how Badger culling worked through the 60s/70s/80s and would not work now,of course it would but as Governments have made a hash of it by stopping something that was working it would perhaps have to be on a unacceptable scale to lots of people but it would work without any doubt done correctly.
Badgers are doing as much damage as Deer but the latter do not seem to be as cuddly by peoples reactions.There is little doubt the explosion of Badger numbers is part of the cause of Hedgehog decline and ground nesting birds.
Many of the deer are introductions. Which cull is next in line, Beavers? As for deer road casualties, could drivers slow down? If people are driving at a speed where they cannot safely stop they are driving too fast. It could be a person that stepped onto the road. OK, in some cases animals, and humans, suddenly appear on the road. If the road has bends then you should drive accordingly. Also, animals have a tendency to decide to cross the road just before you reach them, all the more reason to expect this if you see them. Not so easy after dark. If wildlife is native to this country it has the same right to be here! I know that there are complaints about wildlife eating plants, but that is what they do to survive. It is upsetting to see raptors killing other birds and animals. It would indeed be a poorer countryside that was devoid of these splendid birds. As a “botanist” I accept that plants are likely to be eaten. Knee jerk reactions to any situation do not help. I would rather see deer eating crops than housing estates built on them. If we do not take the countryside and its wildlife seriously we will only be able to see wildlife in human managed “zoos.” The “need” for culls shows that some people have not advanced since Medieval times! Deer are woodland animals. The New Forest did not disappear due to being eaten by deer. This was not due to deer culls. It was down to the natural survival of trees and other species of plants. The number of deer killed in medieval times would be relatively small due to deer hunting being carried out by a very select group of people. The call to cull any native wildlife is as a result of either ignorance or governments taking the “easy option.” It shows that this country is no more “civilized” than the countries we criticize for felling their forests in order to grow crops. We should put our own house in order before we tell others what they should be doing. This country is too concerned in producing mountains of paperwork about our environment and wildlife and doing little practical conservation.
“….so if they are so opposed to a badger cull the same number of people should be against a deer cull in my opinion”
I suppose everyone should (at least) be entitled to their own opinion.
Deer roe deer.
Ah but Diapensia my friend for many of us the real problem deer are Muntjac, which have no business being here in the first place. My own view may be simplistic but I have no problem with suggestions that we should remove undesirable aliens——–Ruddy Duck (almost gone), Monk Parakeet, Grey Squirrel, Mink, Canada Goose, Pheasant and yes Muntjac and Fallow Deer to name but a few (and no plants! ). Badgers on the other hand are native. Also the balance with the deer might be better if we had predators of them, as we used to, Wolf, Lynx and Brown Bear, with Lynx at least of little danger to domestic stock in its appropriate habitats ( sadly not in the muntjac range).
Thanks Paul, I intended to include foreign species such as muntjac, but forgot. As for plants, japanese knotweed, himalayan balsam and giant hogweed to mention but three. I did not want to go off topic but I could use up a lot more of Marks space if I was allowed. Introducing large predators such as wolf, lynx and bear may cause problems though. Deer can run faster than humans. We are, after all, a walking meal for these species!
Of the six species of deer in GB four are introduced , two are native, including one of the subjects of this study. I have not read the full paper yet, only the abstract, but I can’t see how you can extrapolate from two small deer species in a fertile lowland context, and make a general conclusion about six species whose ranges encompass very different conditions. E.g. Lowland roe will I expect typically produce two kids per year, a red deer hind in nw highlands one calf perhaps every two years. Also, there is not the same issue with census accuracy with red deer on open hill range. They can be counted and photographed for later counting from helicopter and by spying on foot. I think the methods employed in this study using thermal imaging could be used to improve understanding of deer numbers in areas where they are difficult to count, and to calibrate the main census method, in such situations, which is dung counting.
Tom – excellent points, thank you.
“I can’t see how you can extrapolate”
Ask them. They can construct entire global climate scenarios from one or two sets of Siberian tree rings, so deer population dynamics for the UK should be a piece of cake for the geniuses at UEA
Paring it down to the bare bones, deer numbers principally impact upon biodiversity, badger numbers mainly impact upon human finances. I think we all know how that will play out unless there’s a huge shift in public perception.
I was reminded recently of the research that showed the human variant of Tb was likely to have been the source for the other forms in this debate. Admittedly from several thousands of years ago. Far from a cull, we can’t meaningfully discuss human over-population.
GR WAlker – welcome and thank you for your comment.
Think we will find if Badgers spread TB through no fault of their own of course to lots of other wildlife they will impact more on biodiversity than Deer,and nothing to do with human finances then.
Bluntly, grazing by deer is the second biggest threat to our ancient woodlands after lack of management – Oliver Rackham’s comment quoted by Joe W sums the situation up perfectly. If you don’t care about most woodland butterfly species, Nightingale and the human/natural heritage explained 30 years ago by Peterken and Rackham then that’s fine. If you do, then managing our burgeoning deer populations is critical. And whatever figure UEA have come up with, its probably too low – the deer community, brought up on Highland stalking on open (usually critically overgrazed) moorland just don’t get it about deer being very good at hiding in the trees.
There is another point of view about deer damage in woods. If trees are damaged or killed in woods, glades are opened allowing more sunlight in the clearings. This in turn allows wild flowers to colonise the area. These provide food sources for butterflies and other insects. These areas remain until the succession again takes over. This is a natural system which took place before man started clearing trees for his own use. In a small wood the effect would be greater than in a large wood or forest where small clearings are a small percentage of the overall site. So deer do have a positive influence and the number of trees lost is part of the evolution of our country!
“This is a natural system which took place before man started clearing trees for his own use”
Transitory open space created and maintained by large herbivores was indeed a common component of the wild wood, even Peterken and Vera agree on this point. However at that time the landscape supported aurochs, wild ponies and bison, not just deer and certainly not muntjac, sika, fallow and chinese water deer. Also present were predators such as wolves, lynx and brown bears. The wild wood also covered most of the British landscape and is incomparable with our remaining fragments of ancient, semi-natural woodland.
The growth of trees is one of the few ways that new carbon can be fixed. Deer kill trees. Deer emit methane like all ruminants do. So they are doubly damaging and will thwart our huge efforts to make hardly any difference to the global temperature by 2050 so we must kill them as soon as possible as Mr Milipede has decreed it.
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