Shooting 1800 red deer in the Netherlands

in nature •  18 days ago

Sometimes biologists and their political lobbyists get over-exited and have to admit thirthy years later that real nature cannot be "gated" and orchestrated and more important cannot do without large predators. To do just this was attempted in the Dutch Oostvaardersplassen.

The sad thing now is that due to overpopulation and overgrazing the decission had to be taken to shoot 1800 red deer. Also 160 Konik horses are caught and will be transported elsewhere.

Background of the area of the Oostvaardersplassen:

During a large landwinning project ending in 1968 a (partly wet) piece of 56 square kilometers was left untouched and developed a unique flora. It turned out into a large playground for biologists in the 70's and 80's who - helped by the State's service - could experiment letting in more or less water and large grazing herds etc like Heckrund, Konik horses and also deer. The whole area is gated so no free roaming exists outside of it.

The error (?)

In 1996 the decission was taken to leave everything to nature. This meant no more feeding in winter and strong winters would mean many cadavers. The populations grew and grew and every winter more and more animals died often drowning in pools and walking around starving with zero fat on the bones. Trees all died and it became a desolate place. Not many people knew this as the area was closed to visitors other than directly involveds.

and now we gonna shoot thousands

After some years of fingerpointing among environmentalists it was decided that this animal suffering cannot continue any longer. Hunters must shoot large amounts of animals. Some groups still protested against this - asking for alternatives like transporting deer to …..( whereto they did not know themselves) but this winter things have been executed.


In our small country we wanna have "real" nature but we must now admit that this is not possible. Real nature struggles already in much larger areas like Africa and Alaska. Assuming we could copy that in 56 square km in hindsight was a misstake.


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It's truly sad to see these animals be killed :-/ Nature and 'land planning' don't go too well together. Although there have been experiments to get back vegetation on desert land which seems to be successful - but the trick is to do only minor adaptations and really let nature find it's own way.

Very sad state!

But how is it that that place had got deer but no predators for them? Were these deer brought here from somewhere else?


In 1992 they introduced 24 red deer in that gated park. We have no wolfs, tigers here so deer and wild boar have no fear. Only car accidents and hunters keep them regulated in the other non gated parks.


Ah, that was the root of this problem. If they can't be relocated anywhere, isn't it possible to sterilize all of them? But yeah, we tend to choose the easier route :(

At least the eat is being sold and not thrown away