Deer prudence: Thousands petition Drenthe not to shoot solitary stag

A red deer in the wild
Photo: Stuart Bassil via Flickr
A red deer in the wild
Photo: Stuart Bassil via Flickr

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for the province of Drenthe not to shoot a red deer that has been roaming the countryside for two years.

Mark Tuit of conservation group IVN Noord launched the petition after the provincial government said the animal posed a danger to traffic.

‘I have promised my daughters I’ll do everything I can for this beautiful specimen of a red deer,’ Tuit told RTV Drenthe. Within 48 hours of the petition being posted on Saturday it had gathers around 6,000 signatures. ‘It’s bizarre,’ said Tuit.

The solitary stag set up home in Drenthe two years ago, but conservation law requires the province to assess the impact of any invasive species on the environment and the province is not prepared to carry out such a study for a single animal.

The largest party in the assembly, the VVD, is in favour of shooting the stag, but coalition partners Labour (PvdA) and GroenLinks have asked further questions of the provincial administration.

‘Traffic safety takes priority,’ VVD group leader Willemien Meeuwissen told RTV Drenthe. ‘If we could set something up with fences and suchlike I’d be for it, but it’s not a good model.’


But GroenLinks MP Wim-Jan Renkema said there should be space in a rural province such as Drenthe for a deer to live in solitude without causing trouble. ‘You can’t keep coming back with road safety as a counter-argument,’ he said.

In 2010,a  wild boar, which turned up in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve in Flevoland, was shot dead by forestry commission officials because of the zero tolerance policy.

This means the wild boar population is restricted by law to the Veluwe and parts of Limburg. Similar restrictions apply to deer.

Boar, beavers, deer, geese… the Netherlands is in for the cull

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