There are approximately forty species of deer remaining in the world today. Some nineteen of which are at risk according to the Red Data Book. The organisation primarily concerned with action to prevent the extinction of species of both plants and animals, and with the preservation of wild populations of all species in their native habitats, is The World Conservation Union (IUCN) which has its headquarters in Switzerland. The United Kingdom is a member country of IUCN. The organisation does not have individual members.
Many deer are at risk from road traffic. Vehicles and their occupants are at risk from collisions with deer. Some countries have kept records of such accidents for many years, others, where the risk has only recently been taken seriously, do not. Despite deer collisions with vehicles being a long-standing problem in the UK they do not currently have national statistics. There is now a serious bid, by a group of people under the leadership of Dr. Jochen Langbein, to compile such statistics. The scale of the problem is surprising many people as it is expected to exceed 30,000 a year. If you live in the UK you can help by recording such accidents on-line at www.deercollisions.co.uk.
Deer have no natural predator in the UK, animals such as the wolf, lynx and bear were wiped out many years ago. As a nation of pet lovers, many people in the UK have dogs. Most dog owners have a responsible attitude and keep their dogs under control, particularly in the countryside where, if dogs chase sheep they are at risk of being shot. Many people do not realise that deer are at risk if chased by their pet dog which they think is too small to harm the deer. This may be the case, but, when deer panic from being chased, they are likely to run onto roads, getting killed or injured. They are also likely to misjudge the height of fences, becoming caught in the wire to die a lingering death from starvation.
Keep your dogs under control in deer areas.
Where deer have no natural predator man has a responsibility to control their numbers to prevent overpopulation, leading to death from disease and starvation. Also to prevent deer damage to crops and trees, leading to shortage and hardship for crofters, farmers and forest owners. Too many deer lead to destruction of habitat, endangering other, vulnerable, species such as rare invertebrates. Natural regeneration of trees is prevented, such as the ancient Caledonian pine forests.
You should keep out of deer areas when culling is taking place.
Contact the Deer Study and Resource Centre for details of the shooting seasons.