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Deer

Volume 490: debated on Thursday 26 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make an estimate of changes in the roe deer population in the last five years. (265144)

In 2005 the Tracking Mammals Partnership reported that observations on roe deer made by British Trust for Ornithology volunteers undertaking the Breeding Bird Survey increased by 56 per cent. between 1995 and 2005. The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust National Gamebag Census records for roe deer increased by 34.1 per cent. between 1995 and 2003. However, it is not certain how well these observations correspond to changes in abundance.

Recent extrapolated estimates of national abundance of roe deer in England by the Central Science Laboratory, the Deer Initiative and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation range between 90,000 and 324,000, but it is not possible to conclude which of these is most accurate because surveys of deer abundance are not conducted nationally or regionally. However, the British Deer Society collects national deer distribution data on a five-yearly cycle. Analysis of their latest results, by the Central Science Laboratory, suggests that roe deer may have expanded their national range by 5.2 per cent. between 2002 and 2007.