Amsterdam poised to sanction dune reserve deer cull

Amsterdam city council executives have voted in favour of plans to cull hundreds of fallow deer in the city’s water catchment area in the dunes south of Zandvoort.

The city has for years resisted pressure from locals and other local authorities for a cull, saying time is needed to give other measures time to work. Some 2,000 fallow deer live in the dunes, as well as several hundred roe deer.

A high fence some 12 kilometres long has been built around much of the reserve to stop the deer moving into farmland and residential areas where they are said to damage crops and cause road accidents.


But it is now apparent there is not enough food to support the thousands of deer living in the dunes, experts say. Some 200 deer died of starvation last winter, many of them kept away from the fields where they used to graze by the fence.

While approving the idea of a cull in principle, council officials say the kill total must be kept as low as possible. Amsterdam’s water board Waternet, which looks after the area, is now looking into the option of rehousing the deer in other parts of Europe, according to media reports.

The plan still has to be voted on by the full city council.


Meanwhile, the Parool reports that work is almost complete on a large wildlife bridge over the main Zaandvoort road. The cost of the project, partly funded by Brussels, is put at €9m.

The aim is to allow wildlife to move from the dune area to the nearby Zuid-Kennemerland national park and the bridge forms part of a European-wide project to develop green corridors.

Squirrels, hedgehogs, butterflies and plants will be enouraged to use the bridge but as yet no decision has been taken on whether deer will be allowed to use it as well, the paper said.

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