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Czech deer still afraid to cross Iron Curtain

Almost 25 years after the electric fences separating the Czech Republic from Germany were removed, deer still refuse to cross the border that once posed a threat to their predecessors.

Deer near the town of Harrachov, Czech Republic Credit: AP

A seven-year study by the Czech Republic's Sumava National Park showed that red deer - who were born years after the Cold War ended - still avoid the border that was once protected by electrified barbed-wire fences and heavily armed guards.

Pavel Sustr, who lead the study, said that the research shows the animals stick to traditional patterns and return every year to the same places.

"Fawns follow mothers for the first year of their life and learn from them where to go," he added.

Man held after 'wild deer shot with crossbow'

A man has been arrested after a wild deer was allegedly shot with a crossbow in the Plymouth area.

Devon and Cornwall Police arrested a man in possession of a crossbow and he is now helping both police and the RSPCA with their inquiries.

"It is possible that the deer has been wounded and is still alive," a police spokesman said.

"Efforts are being made by the police and RSPCA to track and locate the deer so that it can be treated for any injuries sustained".

'74,000' deer involved in UK vehicle collisions annually

Motoring, wildlife and safety groups repeatedly warn road users of the dangers of deer on highways.

  • The toll of deer involved annually in vehicle collisions in the UK is estimated to be as high as 74,000
  • Road accidents involving deer also result in more than 450 human injuries a year as well as several deaths


'Not realistic to have bears and wolves' to control deer numbers

Expanding areas of woodland surrounded by farms, together with the lack of natural predators, have provided perfect conditions in which deer can flourish.

Dr Paul Dolman, from the University of East Anglia told a a news briefing in London that, "I don't think it's realistic to have wolves and brown bears in rural England. In the absence of natural predators, the only way to manage them is to shoot them."

Each year more than 14,000 vehicles are severely damaged and about 450 people injured or killed on British roads as a result of collisions with deer.

Deer stand in the snow at Studley Royal Park, Ripon, North Yorkshire Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA WireImages

Deer strip woodland of wild flowers, brambles and shrubs, and disturb the ecology to the point that native birds are lost. The fact that nightingales are now so rare is largely blamed on deer.Britain has a total of six deer species.

Roe deer and red deer are the only two species native to the UK. Four others have been introduced from abroad since Norman times.

The most recent newcomers were the muntjac deer and the Chinese water deer, which became established in the wild in the 1920s.

Dangers posed by urban deer populations

Shooting by trained and licensed hunters is the only practical way to keep deer populations under control, according to Dr Paul Dolman, from the University of East Anglia.

As deer populations are pushed from the countryside to more urban areas Dr Doman claims the likelihood of accidents increases.

Studies have been done in Sheffield that show roe deer living in cemeteries.

Muntjac deer will move into private gardens and allotments. Fallow deer are wide ranging - they live in woodland but come in to feed. There are housing estates in London where they've been known to graze on lawns in the evening.

There have been no accidents yet but it's only a matter of time. These are large animals with sharp antlers. If you had one cornered in a school playing field, it could be nasty.

– Dr Paul Dolman, the University of East Anglia

Experts urge deer cull to kill 750,000 deer each year

Experts are urging a huge deer cull which could see close to a million animals being shot each year in the UK.

They claim that culling on such a massive scale is necessary just to keep the exploding deer population at its current level.

Fallow deer graze at Bradgate Park, Newtown Linford, Leicestershire Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The call to arms was made after new research showed that it was only by killing 50% to 60% of deer populations could their numbers be kept under control.

This is slaughter on a far greater scale than the 20% to 30% culling rates previously recommended.

The results, published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, indicate that existing management strategies are failing.

With total deer numbers conservatively estimated at about 1.5 million, it could result in more than 750,000 animals being shot every year.

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