1,400 red deer to be culled in Oostvaardersplassen reserve this winter

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

The Dutch forestry commission will cull 1,400 red deer living in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve this winter, in order to keep numbers to a manageable level.

A count at the end of October showed there are some 1,900 deer on the reserve, which can only cope with around 500, news agency ANP reported.

There has been a continuous cull on the reserve since the winter of 2018 when more than half the 5,230 deer, ponies and cattle living on the reserve near Almere died – most were shot by forestry commission staff because they were starving.

Large mammals were introduced in the reserve in the 1980s and 1990s to 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, meaning the animals cannot move on to new areas.

There is also a continuous cull of fallow deer living in the dunes west of Amsterdam and of wild boar living in the Veluwe region.

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