For immediate release
The Mammal Society is calling on people to submit their deer sightings this Invasive Species week (16th to 22nd May 2022)
Deer among the most successful British mammals, as the Mammal Society’s 2018 status review confirmed that all deer have increased in population size and geographical range in the last 20 years. But while deer bring benefits they can also have negative economic and environment costs.
This year during Invasive species week (16th to 22nd May), the Mammal Society is focusing on the six species of deer found in the Britain and encouraging people to submit deer sightings – historical and new records.
Why are we focusing on deer?
- Only two of the six species found in the UK are actually native – Red deer and Roe deer
- The other four species, Fallow, Sika, Muntjac and Chinese water deer, have all been introduced over the last couple of hundred years and are considered Invasive Non-Native Species.
- It’s important to understand the distribution of these species across the UK to support conservation needs and protection
Invasive Non-Native Species have been moved from their country of origin (as their name often suggests) and brought into Britain by humans and have a negative impact on the environment, the economy and human health. There are around 2000 non-native species in Britain, but these species do not have negative impacts.
Throughout Invasive species week we will be sharing daily blogs on all six deer, their status, impact, management and how to identify them. The aim of the week is to raise awareness and encourage people to submit their sightings of deer to us. You can submit sightings by email or post or download our free Mammal Mapper app and record sightings. Sightings submitted will also feed in to the Deer Distribution Survey which we are partnering with the British Deer Society on this year.
Andy Bool, CEO of the Mammal Society says “Despite being fairly widespread, deer can be hard to spot. The best time of day to look for them is either early morning or late evening when they are more likely to be moving about in search of food and grazing. By submitting your sightings, you will be helping us to achieve a better understanding of deer distribution across the UK, meaning we are better placed to advise on conservation needs and protection in the future”.
For more information and how to submit your sightings visit https://www.mammal.org.uk/
Notes to editors
For more information or to arrange an interview please call 02380 010983 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact email@example.com for a high res version of the of Reeves’ Muntjac image.
- Native species – species that originates from Britain since 6,100BCE when Britain became separated from mainland Europe.
- Non-Native Species – are plant or animal (terrestrial, freshwater or marine) species that have moved from their place of origin by the assistance of humans, whether intentional or accidental. Non-native species in Britain have been brought here from overseas and it is estimated there are around 2000 species, but the number is increasing every year.
- Invasive Non-Native Species – INNS have also been moved from their place of origin and brought into Britain by humans but also have a negative impact on the environment, the economy and health. It is estimated that around 10-15% of non-native species are INNS, and as the number of non-native species is increasing every year, so is the number of INNS.
- Invasive Alien Species – is the term used by the European Union (EU) for INNS.
Read the Mammal Society’s Position statement on Invasive Species here
About the Mammal Society
One in four of our native mammals is threatened with extinction, and many others are in decline. With Britain now recognised as one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, urgent action is needed. The Mammal Society is working to give our wildlife a better future by:
- Keeping a constant watch on the conservation status of our mammals and making this information freely available
- Making conservation more effective by providing guidance on what to do and where to do it
- Educating the public and professionals about wild mammals, training people to survey them, and sharing the latest research
- Working in partnership to restore native mammal populations and re-establish functional ecosystems
Deer in the UK
There are six species of deer in Britain and the Mammal Society’s 2018 status review confirms that all deer have increased in population size and geographical range in the last 20 years, making them among the most successful British mammals. Lack of any natural predators has enabled deer to expand. Some argue that predators such as Lynx and wolf should be reintroduced (both having become extinct due to hunting) should be reintroduced to assist with deer management.
Only two deer are native, red deer (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). Four deer are invasive non-native species – that means they have been moved from their country of origin (as their name often suggests) and brought into Britain by humans and have a negative impact on the environment, the economy and human health. (There are around 2000 non-native species in Britain, but these species do not have negative impacts).
These four invasive non-native deer were brought into Britain at different times, have different impacts and different geographical ranges:
- Fallow deer (Dama dama) were deliberately released into the wild for hunting by the Normans and are fairly widespread across Britain.
- Sika deer (Cervus nippon) have been present in Britain since 1860 and have a patchy but expanding distribution across Britain.
- Muntjac deer (Muntiacus reevesi), also known as Reeves’ muntjac, were deliberate or accidental releases after being brought here for private collections in the 1830s. It has a patchy presence in Britain, being more common in England, sparse in Wales and with only a few records in Scotland.
- Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis) became established in the wild in the 1940s from private collections. The population is predominantly limited to the east of England but has shown some expansion and show a preference for wetland habitats, e.g. along rivers or reedbeds.