Almost 700 horses, deer and cows culled in Oostvaardersplassen

Photo: By EM Kintzel, I Van Stokkum via Wikimedia Commons

Some 700 deer, horses and cows in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve have been culled since December 1, local broadcaster Omroep Flevoland reports.

Large mammals were introduced in the reserve in the 1980s and 1990s in what has proved to be a controversial move.  Reserve wardens hoped that the deer and ponies would eat young shoots, keeping the area open so it will attract geese and other wetland birds.

However, the deer, pony and cattle populations have soared, and now hundreds of animals are shot every winter to ensure there is enough food for the remaining animals. Most of the animals were culled in January when some 512 deer, 62 Konik horses and six Heck cattle were shot.

During the last winter period, from December 1 2016 to May 2017, some 813 animals were culled.