The mass cull of red dear living in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve near Almere is justified because of the damage being caused to local biodiversity, the Council of State said on Wednesday.
The Council of State, the government’s highest administrative court, said in its ruling that Flevoland province had proved the need to reduce the size of the red deer herd to a maximum of 490 animals to protect other fauna and flora.
Last year, a lower court said that the province’s reasoning for giving a licence to cull the animals was not properly supported by the facts. That position was also upheld in an emergency court hearing in February.
In total, 1,745 red deer were shot on the reserve in 2019, before the lower court stopped the cull.
By the end of the year, the number of red deer on the reserve had reached 1,700.
A special commission advised the province to reduce the number of red deer to 490, after hundreds of animals starved to death during the harsh winter of 2017-18.
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