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Urban deer management
A code of practice is being drawn up to help the increasing numbers of new residents who are moving into Scotland's towns and cities to get on well with their neighbours.
But the influx of four-legged visitors aren't coming from overseas - Scotland's urban areas are now home to increasing numbers of roe deer.
Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson today visited Easterhouse in Glasgow to find out more about the issues surrounding urban deer management - from protecting the deer to preventing them causing accidents and damage.
He met representatives from Scottish Natural Heritage, Strathclyde Police's wildlife crime unit and Glasgow City Council who are working together to ensure the deer are managed in a way that allows them to minimise the impact on their human neighbours.
A Scotland-wide Deer Code is also being developed to address issues such as:
- Road accidents caused by deer
- Wildlife crime, including deer coursing and poaching
Mr Stevenson said:
"Deer management is traditionally seen as something which affects Highland Scotland. But this is changing and roe deer are now an increasingly common sight in urban areas - which is why this is now an issue in Easterhouse and other towns and cities.
"This brings challenges in managing the deer population, both to protect the deer and to prevent road accidents and damage to property or gardens.
"The Deer Code will help to address this by ensuring all those involved fully understand their roles and responsibilities. It will also help to raise awareness of the potential problems associated with deer in our towns and cities."
Jamie Hammond, SNH deer management officer, said:
"We all enjoy seeing deer and these days you don't need to go to the north of Scotland to find them. Instead, we commonly see them around our towns and in cities like Glasgow.
"Having deer so close to the bulk of Scotland's population is terrific in some ways, but can cause challenges occasionally. The Deer Code helps set out some of the basic rules to help landowners and managers understand their responsibilities. Working together, we are developing practical guidance on how to implement the code in and around cities like Glasgow."
The Deer Code of Practice is designed to support people who own or manage land on which deer are found, helping to promote responsible and sustainable deer management. The code is a key part of the deer provisions in the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.
Consultation on a draft code - developed by SNH in conjunction with stakeholders - closed on July 1. Responses will be analysed before a revised version of the code will be submitted to ministers in the autumn for parliamentary approval.