Thursday 24 February 2011

MSPs move to ban 'invasive' deer

Photo: - 'Fiona'
An order has been backed to destroy an "invasive" species of deer if any escape into the wild.
The Scottish Government wants to keep Muntjac deer out of the country after warnings from England about the damage they can cause to trees and crops.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said there is no known established population in the wild in Scotland, adding: "We would like to maintain that situation."
The order was discussed with MSPs on Holyrood's Rural Affairs Committee.
The regulation requires Muntjac to be kept only under licence and adds: "By reason of their destructive habits it is desirable to control the keeping of them and to destroy any such which may be at large."
Mr Lochhead said: "Muntjac deer are originally from Asia and are already an invasive non-native species in England and Wales.
"They're widespread in south and central England but have a patchy distribution between the Humber and the Scottish borders. They are destructive animals, or invasive species to use the more modern term. They can have significant negative impacts in the wild, both to biodiversity and economic interest."
They can damage orchards, cereal crops, coppice woods and bluebells, he said, and have been known to add to accident risks on roads.
The committee was told some of the species are kept securely in deer parks in Fife.
MSPs unanimously backed the provisions of the Muntjac Keeping (Scotland) Order 2011.

Copyright © 2011 The Press Association.

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