Some of the ‘surplus’ fallow deer in Amsterdam’s dune area near Zaandvoort may be taken to Bulgaria next year, rather than shot dead, if the full council agrees.
City alderman Udo Kock says he is prepared to cooperate with the experiment, which would involve transporting the deer to a national park in the south west of Bulgaria, where, according to the Telegraaf, they will form prey for wolves.
Amsterdam city council executives two years ago 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 3,000 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.
Experts at the Alterra institute now say the dune area, some 3,400 hectares in size, can only cope with 600 to 800 deer and that 2,400 need to be killed.
However, according to the Parool, wildlife group Rewilding Europe is in touch with the people who run the Rhodopen national park in Bulgaria about moving some of the Dutch deer there. They are keen to repopulate the area with deer because it will be good for the biodiversity.
The Amsterdam water board Waternet expects to begin the deer cull next year, the Parool says. Meanwhile, animal protection group Dierenbescherming has launched a petition against the cull, saying its reasoning is faulty.
A similar plan to move hundreds of deer to other parts of Europe in 2013 was dropped because of the cost and the likely stress it would cause the animals.