I've seen Roe swimming across from island to island around Stavanger in Norway, If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I would have said it wasnt impossible! The currents are pretty strong around there, but the deer seem to use them to there advantage and go with the tide!
I can see how the Sika got off Brownsea Island onto mainland Dorset, as its quite sheltered and not that far.
I think the Roe that tried to swim from the Isle of White must have been washed out to sea as what would have been the attraction? A deer wouldn't have been able to see across?
I could be wrong but I believe that's where they escaped (swum) from and populated Dorset?
Here you go:
In the 19th Century it was fashionable among the landed gentry to introduce exotic animals to large estates. The sika or cervus japonicus were brought to Brownsea from Japan when the island was owned by an MP named Major Kenneth Balfour.
The deer were not contained and a failure to realise that deer can swim meant it wasn't long before they made it ashore to the mainland. Many made the crossing in 1934 to escape a terrible fire which swept across the island.
By the 1970s some of the deer had swum back and their population on Brownsea has grown since then. Many instead set up home in the woodlands and heaths of the Purbecks and in particular the Arne peninsula, on the shores of Poole Harbour.
I got that of BBC Dorset's website - is there a difference between cervus japonicus and cervus nippon? I thought the Latin name for Sika was cervus nippon?
About time they closed the FC down Tim, it costs us a fortune.
That's not the point, the real question is should the FC be using the island as an experimental deer free zone?Wrong, hot air! When you consider funding for the FC and the forestry sector receives with the subsidy funding the Agri sector receives it's like comparing the size of a marble with a hot air balloon. Approx £50m versus £4bn per year.
Tim also your point about tawny owls is interesting. It would take rigorous and expensive research to show that absence of deer is responsible for any reduction in tawny owls, I am not sure any work like this has been undertaken. Tawny owls are still common, however there is plenty of research and evidence to show that deer pressure and the resulting lack of regeneration and ground flora is directly responsible for the decline in priority woodland birds (which Tawny owl isn't).