Forestry service needs to cull hundreds more red deer in Oostvaardersplassen
Staatsbosbeheer just can’t manage to get the number of red deer in the Oostvaardersplassen to a maximum of 500 animals. Last winter, the forestry service had to cull 1,400 deer but only managed to shoot 157. It also did not achieve the desired stock of 500 deer in the previous year. Staatbosbeheer, who manages the nature reserve, will deploy more staff to shoot more often, also from places invisible to the deer. The province of Flevoland is allocating 250,000 euros for the purpose.
The Oostvaardersplassen has room for a maximum of 1,100 large grazers. More than that, and there’s a chance that animals will starve in the winter. In addition to cattle and horses, the nature reserve can handle 500 red deer. How many red deer are currently roaming the reserve will only become apparent after the annual count, held at the end of October. Only then will Staatsbosbeheer know how many animals it needs to cull this year.
According to Staatsbosbeheer, far too few animals were culled last year because of the mild winter. Then the red deer are less likely to walk around in large groups close to each other, and they can graze more easily. There was also more than enough food, and the red deer in the nature reserve were in excellent condition.
Staatsbosbeheer will spread bait to get groups of deer in sight. Tree stumps have been placed in areas for hunters to hide behind. The reserve manager also wants to hunt during the rut - the deer’s period of sexual activity - this year, but only in places where there are no rutting deer.
But even with these extra measures, Staatsbosbeheer doubts it will achieve the desired red deer population of 500 by December next year.
The amount Flevoland is allocating for these extra measures includes money for legal fees if opponents try to challenge the culling.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times