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We must all come together to save our deer, says BDS

Launching Together for Deer, the BDS hopes to protect the UK’s wild populations by providing education, training and career opportunities.

The British Deer Society (BDS), has unveiled its new plan, Together for Deer. The plan aims to safeguard deer welfare, mitigate threats and promote sustainable coexistence in the face of complex and growing environmental challenges. 

The BDS, which is the only charity dedicated solely to the preservation and welfare of UK wild deer, says the Together for Deer strategy reflects the its commitment to its vision of creating a world where wild deer are valued, respected and thrive in harmony with their environment. 

The strategy, which is intended to run from 2024 to 2030, will focus on three key areas: ethics and welfare, education and training, and science and research. To fulfil the education and training commitments the BDS will look to expand educational resources, broaden engagement activities and deliver high-quality training and career development courses. It will also fund scientific studies and disseminate research. 

In a sector that boasts numerous organisations intended to regulate and manage deer populations and interests, but which often suffers from a lack of interagency communication, the Together for Deer strategy emphasises the vital role of collaboration in addressing these challenges. 

Unlike some bodies with interests in deer management— among them the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) — the BDS has engaged with Scottish Government’s deer management consultation, which closed last month. 

The SGA alerted ministers that it would not put its name to the consultation (News, 27 March), but the British Deer Society had encouraged its members do so. 

“By engaging in thoughtful and informed responses, the BDS aims to contribute to the creation of legislation that aligns with our core objectives and safeguards the delicate balance between private and public interests,” it stated. 

David McAuley, CEO of the BDS said: “As populations and urbanisation increase, alongside efforts to reverse biodiversity loss and climate change, impacts on deer are escalating, 

“Recent news stories, particularly around increasing deer numbers, highlight that it is more important than ever to understand and manage healthy deer populations that are in balance with their environment, face minimal threats to their welfare, and support a more sustainable food sector.” 

Originally established in 1963 and inaugurated at Woburn Abbey the same year, the British Deer Society was formed to campaign for legislation and better understanding and management of wild deer.