Call for new Cairngorms Park Plan to take action on deer numbers

09 Jun 2022

A coalition of environmental groups has called on the Cairngorms National Park Authority to agree an ambitious approach to tackling unsustainable deer numbers and increasing the natural diversity and resilience of the Park. 

The Park Authority will this week (Friday 10th) agree a new Park Partnership Plan, which will set out conservation and land management priorities for the next five years. This Plan puts nature recovery at the heart of the Park’s plans and takes a welcome lead in Scotland’s response to the climate and nature crises.

In an open letter, published today, a range of environmental organisations have said that urged the Park Authority to take “effective action to tackle deer numbers, increase the diversity of its moorlands and increase nature regeneration of woodland.  In doing so, they will be creating a more ecologically balanced Cairngorms”. 

The letter argues that “much of the park’s ecosystems are being damaged by excessively and unnaturally high deer numbers” and that reducing numbers “is essential if we are serious about protecting our environment while supporting the economic vitality of our rural communities.”

Commenting, Deborah Long, Chief Officer at Scottish Environment LINK said:

“The Cairngorms National Park is one of the jewels in Scotland’s natural heritage crown. 

“But we also have to accept that for too long, our approach to land management across Scotland has allowed deer numbers to become unsustainably high at huge ecological cost. 

“The Park Authority set out an ambitious approach to tackle deer numbers in their draft Plan and in committing to implementing this, the Park Board will be ensuring Scotland builds its lead as a nature rich country, restoring its nature for future generations.”

Mike Daniels, Director of Policy at the John Muir Trust and a resident of the Cairngorms Park, added:

“Deer are a vital part of the park – at the right number. Since all their natural predators were exterminated, humans must manage them to benefit habitats for all nature, including deer, and people. We have a range of highly skilled deer managers in the park who are perfectly placed, and now urgently need to deliver the action required. 

“Lower deer numbers will allow a more ecologically balanced Cairngorms, which will in turn bring benefits to the communities who live here – in line with the objectives of our National Parks.”

The open letter is available here


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