Flevoland provincial council backs plans to reduce the number of large mammals on the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve to 1,100, which will mean the cull of 1,000 deer.
A committee set up to look into the future of the reserve said last month the animal population should be reduced still further and that the wetland part of the reserve should be expanded.
Now provincial officials have agreed to press ahead with the cull and to improve the vegetation on the reserve. They have set aside €3.2m for improvements but want the state to contribute to the total bill.
More than half the 5,230 deer, ponies and cattle living on the reserve near Almere died this winter – most of which were shot by forestry commission staff because they were starving.
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.
In the original plan, the reserve was to be linked to the Veluwe region, but that was scrapped as part of budget cuts. The province has been in charge of the reserve since 2016 and a majority of provincial councillors want to open the area up to tourism.
Last weekend, activists cut through the fence surrounding the reserve in at least 21 places. Three deer which left the reserve and were wandering on the A6 motorway, were shot.
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