‘Rewilders’ and farmers lock horns over plan to cull 25,000 deer from Cairngorms National Park
Date of alert:
More than 25,000 deer face being culled under controversial plans to “rewild” parts of the UK’s largest national park.
Rural workers have claimed that the proposals, which bosses at Cairngorms National Park say are needed to allow for the restoration of woodland and peatland, will threaten rural jobs and are inhumane.
Shepherds and hill farmers have also raised fears that the push to allow swathes of the park to naturally regenerate, in a bid to tackle climate change, could backfire and is not backed by solid evidence.
A key part of the plan, which is being finalised by the public body which runs the park, is to reduce the number of deer roaming in areas uncovered by woodland to between five to eight animals per square kilometre, around half of current levels.
A report published in 2021 found that there were up to 79,000 deer in total in the national park, which covers a huge area of the Scottish Highlands.
There are believed to be up to 56,800 deer living in uncovered areas, a figure that would have to be roughly halved by the end of the decade if the park is to meet its targets for woodland and peatland.