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Thread: Isle of Wight Deer Free Status

  1. #1

    Isle of Wight Deer Free Status

    As many of you are aware I have been going on about the Forestry Commission trying to wipe out all the wild Red deer on the Isle of Wight.

    Today I got this statement from Ian Gambles, Head of Forestry Commission England

    "The absence of deer browsing on the Isle of Wight provides a unique control against which the conservation and sustainable land management community can compare and contrast the variable vegetation conditions within the forests and woodlands on the mainland."

    So without consulting the general public it appears that the Forestry Commission want to wipe out all our deer, but surely any scientific data that they generate will be compromised by the fact that irrespective of their origins deer have been out and about in the wild on the Isle of Wight for the past 15 - 20 years.

    It fact it would be more accurate to observe that deer at low density don't cause the damage that deer at high density do on the mainland, but Forest Research have already made that observation anyway so what is the point of the continuing with this project?

    atb Tim

  2. #2
    The FC know full well the damage that can be done otherwise they would not offer up leases to control them, i appreciate the IOW is a smaller parcel of land and is therefore more susceptible in a shorter period of time to change in biodiversity with regards to flora & fauna with only a small amount of destructive action from say uncontrolled grazing animals, however we all know this! so not new information. It does seem to be an extreme way of gaining a control with which to compare. unfortunately i expect there is another reason for the action.
    Hypothetically say : What if all artificially introduced browsing animals are to be removed!! i wonder what it would then look like?
    Out of curiosity and without looking it up myself what are the numbers and how & when did they become introduced?

    ​atb

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by rick6point5 View Post
    The FC know full well the damage that can be done otherwise they would not offer up leases to control them, i appreciate the IOW is a smaller parcel of land and is therefore more susceptible in a shorter period of time to change in biodiversity with regards to flora & fauna with only a small amount of destructive action from say uncontrolled grazing animals, however we all know this! so not new information. It does seem to be an extreme way of gaining a control with which to compare. unfortunately i expect there is another reason for the action.
    Hypothetically say : What if all artificially introduced browsing animals are to be removed!! i wonder what it would then look like?
    Out of curiosity and without looking it up myself what are the numbers and how & when did they become introduced?

    ​atb
    Actually deer at low population density have been shown to be beneficial to biodiversity, this is referred to in several FC documents.

    Current deer numbers are unknown but in the order of a handful, I can't say too much about that because it will endanger them.

    Probable origins, with at least 4 deer farms and 1 tourist attractions keeping Red deer since the 1980's it is reasonable to assume that these are descendents of escapees but also deer are known to swim the Solent and unaccounted for wandering Stags have occasionally been seen here, possibly a combination of all. Incidentally, don't be fooled by some of the nonsense put about by some ecologists about Red deer being an "introduced species", usually mentioned along with Grey Squirrels and Mink, this is not the case.

    There is archaeological data showing Red deer on the Isle of Wight both before and after the last age and the island has many medieval deer parks, both Parkhurst Forest and Borthwood Copse were royal hunting preserves for Red deer.

    What the truth is behind the FC policy I have yet to discover, I look forward to finding out.

    atb Tim

    ps for definition of introduced or non-native species follow this link:-
    https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/non...home/index.cfm
    Last edited by timbrayford; 18-09-2013 at 22:32. Reason: link

  4. #4
    Tim

    I figured the numbers were low but not quite as sparse, which makes me wonder even more as to the reason for removal!
    I find this quite interesting and have since read a number of more detailed posts from you on other sites about the royal involvement, so thanks for that learning something new is always a bonus. It was noted too that the more destructive Muntjac is now on the isle, is this the case or just fuel for the fire of Deer removal?
    It does not surprise me to hear of the 'swimming the solent stags' i have seen first hand their abilities in the water in Scotland, & i have witnessed other species doing similar in Canada whilst Kayaking

    atb

    Rick
    Last edited by rick6point5; 19-09-2013 at 20:32. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by rick6point5 View Post
    Tim

    I figured the numbers were low but not quite as sparse, which makes me wonder even more as to the reason for removal!
    I find this quite interesting and have since read a number of more detailed posts from you on other sites about the royal involvement, so thanks for that learning something new is always a bonus. It was noted too that the more destructive Muntjac is now on the isle, is this the case or just fuel for the fire of Deer removal?
    It does not surprise me to hear of the 'swimming the solent stags' i have seen first hand their abilities in the water in Scotland, & i have witnessed other species doing similar in Canada whilst Kayaking

    atb

    Rick
    I think that we have to take what the FC say at face value, that they have decided that the Isle of Wight is to be an experimental long term deer free area .

    I am not quite sure that they are entitled to do this as this goes way beyond wildlife management and to my mind infringes the civil liberties of the island's human population who might wish to enjoy local deer in their natural environment.

    Regarding the Muntjac, there have been rumours that these have been around for a few years now, a tourist attraction went bust and some Muntjac and Fallow escaped. The Fallow were promptly destroyed by EN but it is possible that a few survived, the fate of the Muntjac is unknown. I tend to believe what I have seen firsthand, I have never seen a Muntjac here, I have seen mature Fallow Bucks around the time of the Rut and on several occasions seen Red deer hinds with calves.

    One of my friends from the hunting community informs me that his hounds chased a deer on the island in 1991, so despite what the FC think the deer have been in the wild here for some considerable time.

    atb Tim

  6. #6
    I have just received this statement from the Forestry Commission, they have clarified a misleading impression that they may have given about the Isle of Wight's deer free status.

    To quote Simon Hodgson, CEO, Forest Enterprise England :-

    " This is of course a relative term which compares the minimal deer numbers on the Isle of Wight with significant populations on the mainland"
    .


    Unfortunately this has led to many people erroneously believing that there are no deer on the Isle of Wight, which does not accurately reflect the true state of woodland biodiversity here.

    atb Tim

  7. #7
    I don't know what you think but that sounds like a politician's answer to an awkward question when they have been caught out. You would think that highly educated and well paid civil servants would know the difference between "deer free" and low deer density and be able to write a brief to explain themselves correctly !

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by prometheus View Post
    I don't know what you think but that sounds like a politician's answer to an awkward question when they have been caught out. You would think that highly educated and well paid civil servants would know the difference between "deer free" and low deer density and be able to write a brief to explain themselves correctly !
    My thoughts precisely.

    There is so much to be learned from the Isle of Wight about how low density deer populations, particularly of our native species, can beneficially co-exist with other woodland species without the damaging effects seen in some mainland areas.

    However, getting the public authorities to appreciate this is proving to be quite a challenge.

    atb Tim

  9. #9
    Hi TIm,

    This is very interesting, especially as I am currently investigating "islands" as part of a Masters course in Conservation Medicine. Any other sources of information?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Buchan View Post
    Hi TIm,

    This is very interesting, especially as I am currently investigating "islands" as part of a Masters course in Conservation Medicine. Any other sources of information?
    Just let me know what you need to know, I have had to do quite a lot of background research into how all these negative opinions on deer arose on the Isle of Wight and I am still discovering more.

    atb Tim

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