In the last 20 years there has been an increase in deer numbers and in distribution in Wales, as in other parts of the UK. Whilst public awareness of wild deer in Wales is still fairly low, impacts on agriculture, forestry and vulnerable habitats are becoming more obvious, as are the risks of collisions with deer on the roads, and the potential role for deer in the epidemiology of certain diseases. At sustainable population levels there are also positive benefits including the production of venison, revenue from stalking and potentially, wildlife tourism. Not least, the native deer species (red and roe) are a key part of our natural heritage.
The Deer Initiative was established in Wales in 1999 with the aim of ensuring the delivery of a healthy, sustainable wild deer population in Wales. With so little known about wild deer in Wales, the Deer Initiative has carried out extensive research in Wales, covering the distribution of fallow, roe, muntjac, red and sika in Wales, and their impacts on forestry, agriculture and biodiversity.
The Deer Initiative provides advice and information on all issues relating to wild deer in Wales and their management, particularly in the use of Deer Management Plans and encouraging collaborative deer management through Deer Management Groups.