The Quantock hills red deer count shows signs of recovery after eight years of continuous decline, reports have revealed. The count, organised by the Quantock Deer Management and Conservation Group, has recorded an increase of 125 wild red deer since last year’s total. Since the decline in 2005, the deer population has fallen from around 1,000 to an average of 400 animals.
More than 50 people took part in the effort to tally the animals across the hills in early March, totalling 511 red deer in all. With such dynamic expansion of the deer population, despite numbers refusing to spread to the southerly quarter of the hills, deer enthusiasts are delighted with the result. The wild deer of the Quantock hills are integral to the ecological and cultural wellbeing of the region, and although an increase in deer numbers will mean a slight detrimental impact on agriculture, even landowners would regret the loss of the species in the area.
Deer colonisation elsewhere in the South West has also proved difficult; failure to colonise non-native muntjac on the Quantocks and beyond may lead to more research on the subject, which could mean an increased interest in the sudden wild red deer population rise. For details on the annual Quantock deer count or to report sightings of muntjac deer in the region, visit here.