Muntjac are thriving but at too great a cost to our woodlands. Managing these little deer is vital and, done properly, it has beneficial – and delicious – results, says Hugh van Cutsem
While out in the countryside, I am sure that an ever-increasing number of you have heard that little rustling noise and then spotted a small, tan-coloured figure with a white, erect tail bound away. Many of you will also, when on a dawn or dusk walk, have noticed a sharp barking noise; vaguely familiar but not so. These are all signs of perhaps one of the strangest invasive/non-native species we have in the UK (although not in Scotland yet, officially). Welcome to the Reeves’ muntjac, Muntiacus reevesi, named after John Russell Reeves, an employee of the East India Company, who discovered them in China and sent specimens back to England in 1838 to Woburn Park. It is from these specimens that future descendants escaped and started to establish themselves outside the confines of the Park. Nearly 200 years on, they are firmly established in most of England and parts of Wales.
MUNTJAC – WHY DO THEY NEED TO BE CULLED?
Their spread has been helped by the fact that they are…