Scotland's Wild Deer: A National Approach Action Plan for 2018/'19 - for our deer, land and people

 
Scotland's Wild Deer: A National Approach Action Plan for 2018/'19 - for our deer, land and people
Scotland’s Wild Deer:
A National Approach

      Action Plan
      for 2018/’19

for our deer, land and people
Scotland's Wild Deer: A National Approach Action Plan for 2018/'19 - for our deer, land and people
Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

FOREWORD
Welcome to the 8th Action Plan for Scotland’s Wild Deer: A
National Approach (WDNA). WDNA is a collectively agreed,
national vision for deer management. It aims to encourage
private land owners and public bodies to work together
across Scotland to balance the needs of the environment,
local economies and people’s health and well-being.

The Cabinet Secretary set out challenges for the deer sector
to meet by 2019. These have set the context for much of the
work in 2018/’19.

A summary of the main actions included in this Action Plan1
is included below. Further details on all actions are set out in
the following pages.

     The Deer Working Group, commissioned by the Cabinet
      Secretary, will continue to gather data on a range of legislative, policy and practical
      challenges and opportunities associated with deer management to inform their report
      and recommendations due in 2019;
     Identifying how public interests associated with deer management are delivered in
      the lowlands. This work is being carried out through the Lowland Deer Management
      Project in recognition that circumstances, practicalities and land ownership demand a
      different approach to that in the uplands. The Project’s objectives are to gain a better
      understanding of what deer management is taking place, what the impact of deer and
      their management is, what data is being gathered and what opportunities there might
      be for greater collaboration amongst deer managers;
     Compliance with the Deer Code. An audit will be carried out to review the extent of
      compliance with the Deer Code. The results will form the basis of a report to be
      submitted to parliament in spring 2019;
     Deer Management Group Assessment. Building on the SNH 2016 Deer review SNH and
      ADMG will continue to work together to refine the metrics for assessing DMG
      performance and prepare for the 2019 assessment. This will include a health check of
      current delivery of DMGs;
     Training in deer management. Training opportunities will be delivered and developed
      for deer managers in the uplands and lowlands. This will include sessions delivered on
      habitat impact assessments and DCS Level 1 & 2 training courses;
     Support the development of a venison strategy. A strategy will be developed by a
      range of partners involved to help meet Ambition 2030 (a vision for food and drink to
      become Scotland’s most valuable industry).

This Action Plan has been compiled by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), co-ordinated
through the WDNA Steering Group (Forestry Commission Scotland, Forest Enterprise
Scotland, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park
Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Government) on behalf of all WDNA
contributors (see Annex 2 for full list).

1
    Each WDNA Action Plan runs from beginning of April until the end of March the following year.
Scotland's Wild Deer: A National Approach Action Plan for 2018/'19 - for our deer, land and people
Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

CONTENTS

What is Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach? ............................................. 4
  What are the WDNA 2015-2020 Challenges? ....................................................... 4
  What is the Purpose of the WDNA Action Plans & Reports? ..................................... 4
  1.   Collaboration & Effective Deer Management Planning & Implementation .............. 5
  2.   Healthy Ecosystems .............................................................................. 8
  3.   Lowland & Urban Deer......................................................................... 10
  4.   Economic & Community Development ...................................................... 12
  5.   Training & Wild Deer Welfare ................................................................ 14

Annex 1: Monitoring and Reporting ................................................................ 16

Annex 2: List of Action Leaders and Contributors for this Action Plan ..................... 17

Annex 3: Structure of WDNA ........................................................................ 18

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Scotland's Wild Deer: A National Approach Action Plan for 2018/'19 - for our deer, land and people
Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

What is Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach?
Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA) is a collective vision for sustainable deer
management in Scotland. It was developed and is being delivered by private and public
bodies who share the same ambition that:
‘We manage wild deer to achieve the best combination of benefits for the economy,
environment, people and communities for now and for future generations’
Launched in 2008 and revised in 2015 WDNA includes a set of challenges for 2015 - 2020.
WDNA sets common goals including sustaining jobs, providing opportunities for people to
see deer, promoting venison and protecting vulnerable habitats including woodlands.

This Action Plan identifies how a range of organisations will contribute to these challenges
in 2018 and into 2019.

What are the WDNA 2015-2020 Challenges?

The WDNA challenges are grouped under the following headings:
   Collaboration & Effective Deer Management Planning and Implementation
   Healthy Ecosystems
   Lowland & Urban Deer
   Economic & Community Development
   Training & Wild Deer Welfare

The challenges were developed in 2014 to guide actions on the ground for 2015-2020. They
were agreed in discussion with a range of contributors who recognised the need to prioritise
areas of work over the five year period to 2020. They highlight action needed across the
public and private sectors.

What is the Purpose of the WDNA Action Plans & Reports?

The purpose of the WDNA Action Plans & Reports, which are published each year, is to:
 Promote and encourage activity across the deer sector;
 Recognise new ideas and actions from a wide range of private, public and community
  sectors and NGOs that contribute to the delivery of WDNA;
 Capture core ongoing organisational activities which contribute to the delivery of WDNA;
 Enable an assessment of what has and what hasn’t been delivered and why.

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Scotland's Wild Deer: A National Approach Action Plan for 2018/'19 - for our deer, land and people
Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

                             MEETING THE CHALLENGES

      1. Collaboration &          Effective     Deer     Management         Planning      &
         Implementation

    Wild deer are not confined by human boundaries and as a result often
    need to be managed collaboratively. Groups (e.g. Deer Management
    Groups), networks (e.g. Lowland Deer Network Scotland) and other
    deer partnerships and fora play a core role in enabling and supporting
    this collaboration.

Deer Management Groups (DMGs) came under parliamentary scrutiny as part of the 2016
SNH Deer Review. The Review recognised the significant progress the 44 DMGs in Scotland
have made in delivering sustainable deer management. However, the report also concluded
that further work was required. Work in 2018 will focus on supporting DMGs in moving from
planning to implementation of agreed actions in preparation for the DMG assessment due in
2019. Support for new DMGs will also be provided.

The Code of Practice on Deer Management (Deer Code) came into force in January 2012.
Based on WDNA, its purpose is to guide the delivery of sustainable deer management. This
year a review will be carried out on the extent of compliance with the Deer Code. This will
form the basis of a report submitted to parliament in June 2019.

What will be done in 2018?

Build on work to develop conflict management tools

 1.1Develop handy bespoke guides on conflict management tools and techniques          SNH

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Scotland's Wild Deer: A National Approach Action Plan for 2018/'19 - for our deer, land and people
Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

Ensure robust deer management planning and implementation

 1.2 Help set up and support East Lomond & Trossachs DMG                            LL&TNPA
 1.3 Provide support to all DMGs within the National Park, including West Lomond DMG and
       Cowal Deer Working Group                                                     LL&TNPA
 1.4 Identify how to incorporate deer management into Long Term Forest Plans         FCS/FES
 1.5 Refine and agree the priority criteria and set targets for the DMG 2019 assessment SNH
 1.6 Work closely with SNH to develop the detail and supporting guidance for the 2019 DMG
      Assessment                                                                       ADMG
 1.7 Set up assessments for the DMG Assessment in 2019                                    SNH
 1.8 Hold 2 training workshops to provide practical advice and support to DMGs on delivering
      Deer Management Plans and help prepare for the 2019 Assessments                   ADMG
 1.9 Support DMGs to undertake Health Checks to identify opportunities for further work
      and prioritise actions to deliver the Public Interest within individual Deer Management
      Plans with particular focus on Designated Sites, Native Woodland & Woodland Expansion,
      Peatland Restoration and wider habitats                                     ADMG/SNH
 1.10 Provide a more targeted approach to poorly performing groups by working at the local
      scale                                                                            ADMG
 1.11 Organise a number of events (DSC1, DSC2 and Deer Management courses) which
      emphasise the need to prepare and implement clear and robust plans for adaptive
      management                                                                         BDS
 1.12 Provide access to high quality educational materials to improve general education on and
Promote    and implement
      awareness                the Deer
                  of issues concerning    Code
                                       deer                                              BDS

 1.12   Circulate an audit to review the extent of compliance with the Deer Code    SNH
 1.13   Produce a report for parliament on the extent of compliance with the Deer Code
        and the extent to which the Deer Code has promoted effective sustainable deer
        management                                                                 SNH
 1.14   Run training events which emphasise the need to adhere to the Deer Code and Wild
        Deer Best Practice                                                       WDBPSG
 1.15   Promote Wild Deer Best Practice through new website and social media (Facebook
        and twitter - @BPG)                                                  SNH/WDBPSG

Raise awareness of the need for effective deer management

 1.16   Deliver activity sessions for school children introducing the need for deer
        management         and     introduction  to    the    benefits        of       venison
        SNL/RHET/BASC/LL&TNPA
 1.17   Add a deer page to the LL&TNPA website                                       LL&TNP
 1.18   Develop a new digital platform to promulgate information on the biology of deer BDS
 1.19   Deliver the ‘Hill to Grill’ programme with partners as part of the Outdoor and
        Woodland Learning project                                                        SWT
 1.20   Hold a 2 day seminar on Wild Deer including topics such as deer welfare, research
        and habitat impacts                                                              BDS

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

Establish a shared, trusted high quality knowledge base associated with
   wild deer

 1.21 Let a contract to scope the technical aspects of SWARD and help ensure it is user
     friendly                                                                        SNH
 1.22 Support the development of an article analysing the effects of population reductions
     on red deer distribution and movement patterns within the wider landscape and on
     red deer population dynamics                                                    BDS

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

       2. Healthy Ecosystems

    Deer are a keystone species and an integral
    part of the biodiversity of Scotland.
    However, they can also have a detrimental
    impact on ecosystems and biodiversity.
    WDNA is based around managing deer as
    part of an ecosystem.

Meeting the 2020 Biodiversity Challenge will rely on
achieving appropriate levels of deer grazing within
ecosystems and reducing their negative impacts across
habitats and ecosystems.

2018 marked a big step forward in Scotland’s climate
change ambition and action, with a new Energy Strategy
and new Climate Change Bill introduced. The Climate
Change Bill proposes an increase in the current emissions
reduction target from 80% to 90% by 2050 as set out in
the current Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.
Protecting peatlands and woodlands is one way to achieve
this. Grazing, trampling and browsing of wild deer can have positive and negative
consequences for the vegetation cover, depending on the level of impact. These impacts
need to be kept in balance if woodland and forest cover are to be increased and peatland
protected.
What will be done in 2018?

Contribute to the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity

 2.1    Implement the Invasive Non-Native Species Code as and when necessary and monitor
        and act upon any reported sightings of Muntjac                                SNH/FES
 2.2    Rationalise and promote Habitat Impact Assessment guidance for woodlands FCS/SNH
 2.3    Develop training and awareness raising days for the Woodland Habitat Impact
        Assessment through WDBP partners                            SNH/FCS/ADMG/WDBPSG
 2.4    Run training courses to provide resources and training in techniques such as Habitat
        Impact Assessment                                                                 BDS
 2.5    Launch on-line tutorials to support Habitat Impact Assessments                  ADMG

Carry out work to mitigate, reduce and adapt to the effects of Climate
   Change
 2.6    Act as a facilitator for peatland action on sites within the National Park   LL&TNPA
 2.7    Carry out actions related to peatland action                                    CNPA
 2.8    Promote riparian woodlands as part of woodland expansion                         FCS

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

Contribute to achieving Favourable Condition status for designated features
 2.9 Contribute to addressing herbivore impacts which are contributing to unfavourable
     condition of designated features in woodlands                     FES/FCS/ADMG
 2.10 Contribute to addressing herbivore impacts which are contributing to unfavourable
     condition of designated features in the uplands                  SNH/ADMG/FES
 2.11Carry out deer management to contribute to achieving Favourable Condition
                                                                    Environment LINK
 2.12 Carry out a deer census programme.                                           SNH

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

     3. Lowland & Urban Deer

   Increasingly, deer are moving into areas in
   and around towns. This inevitably brings more
   people into contact with deer and presents
   both challenges and opportunities. Challenges
   include deer vehicle collisions and reducing
   the damage that can be done to urban
   woodlands      and    green    spaces.    The
   opportunities include people being able to see
   and learn more about deer from direct
   experience.
Approaches to deer management in and around towns need to vary from those in the
uplands as there are fundamental differences in the patterns of landownership. There are
also differences in species with roe deer tending to be the most common species in and
around towns. This need for a different approach was recognised by the ECCLR Committee
in their sessions on deer management in 2016/17. The Lowland Deer Project is helping to
address this need by exploring what is meant by public interests in the low ground and
understanding what deer management is taking place and how different deer management
delivers different public interests.

What will be done in 2018?

Improve understanding of deer population dynamics
 3.1 Carry out an assessment of deer count and cull data as part of the Lowland Deer
      Management Project                                             SNH/FCS/LDNS

Develop a range of options for lowland and urban deer management
planning
 3.2 Complete and promote the first phase of the Lowland Deer Management Project to
     provide an assessment of all the data that relates to deer and deer management in
     the project area                                               SNH/FCS/LL&TNPA
 3.3 Support the development of Local Authority deer management policy positions and
     statements and Deer Management Plans                                       SNH
 3.4 Review the make-up and deliverables of LDNS
                                                  SNH /FCS/Transport Scotland/ LDNS

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

Co-ordinate, make available and use current data on lowland and urban
deer

 3.5 Start phase two of the Lowland Deer Management Project to take the data assessment
     from phase one and use this to better understand the nature and extent of
     collaborative deer management being undertaken and how the public interests are
     being delivered                                               SNH/FCS/LL&TNPA
 3.6 Improve understanding of number of deer being culled and by whom in the lowlands
     and urban areas                                                        SNH/LDNS

                       SNH/FCS/LL&TNPA
Understand public perception of urban and lowland deer
 3.7 Deliver ‘Deer on your Doorstep’ events                                         LDNS
 3.8 Maintain delivery of a communications and events programme to a wide audience on
     deer and deer management on the low ground                                     LDNS
 3.9 Hold an event for Local Authorities to raise awareness of deer and their management
                                                                                     SNH

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

         4. Economic & Community Development

Attempts are being made to put an
economic value on Scotland’s
wildlife and ecosystems. This
increases our understanding of the
interrelationship  between     our
natural resources, environment
and economy.

The annual monetary value of wild deer
management in Scotland was estimated in
2014 to be £17.6 million. Deer management supported an estimated 722 full time
equivalent jobs, many in remote and fragile communities.
There are opportunities to add value to deer-related products and activities, and to
broaden the economic benefits associated. The economic costs associated with wild deer
can be significant, for instance road collisions with deer are estimated to cost £9.4million a
year2. Other costs include to agriculture and to forestry. The costs and benefits of deer
need to be better understood and managed effectively to maximise the contribution deer
make to sustainable economic growth.

What will be done in 2018?

Encourage diverse economic opportunities
    4.1 Provide venison from National Nature Reserves and National Parks for local events
         and sales                                                            SNH/FCS/CNPA
    4.2 Progress work to try and attain PGI status for Scottish Wild Venison           SVP
    4.3 Further explore the use of deer larders and cold stores in the low grounds
                                                                              SNH/LDNS/FES
    4.4 Provide a deer management sporting lease opportunity on the Isle of Rum NNR SNH
    4.5 Work with the sector to produce a strategic plan for Scottish Venison to fit with
        Scotland Food and Drink's Ambition 2030                                    SVP/SNH
    4.6 Support the implementation of specifications for venison marketing research in the
        Assynt area                                                                   SWT

Understand the costs and benefits of deer management

    4.7 Identify opportunities to use the cost benefit analysis of deer culling and fencing
                                                                                                   FCS
    4.8 Review the usefulness of LM3 (Local Multiplier) at the DMG scale                         CNPA
    4.9 Explore the concept of Natural Capital at the ADMG AGM                                   ADMG

2
    ‘Scoping the economic benefits and costs of wild deer and their management in Scotland’ Putman R, 2012,
       P16
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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

Build on work to address deer vehicle collisions and human disease risks
 4.10 Continue to raise awareness amongst staff and stalkers of deer-related human
     disease risks such as Lyme disease from ticks                                    FES
 4.11 Collate DVC records from main data sources of Road operating companies, SSPCA
     records and Human injury records                           Transport Scotland/SNH
 4.12 Carry out further risk analyses to identify where to target further action on trunk
     roads and prioritised Local Authority areas                Transport Scotland/SNH
 4.13 Facilitate the annual Spring and Autumn Deer Campaign to help raise awareness
     amongst road users of the likelihood of deer movements Transport Scotland/SNH
 4.14 Contribute to the production of new risk maps of DVC risk on roads in Scotland BDS
 4.15 Engage with Transport Scotland in the concerns for the reduction of DVC through
      road and fence design on the Dualling program for the A9                        BDS
 4.16 Continue to be involved in the debate about the role of deer in the complex and
      interactive system of deer, ticks and Lyme disease                              BDS

Develop appreciation and understanding between access and deer
management
 4.17 Support responsible access and responsible land management by operating the Heading
       for the Scottish Hills web service                                               SNH
 4.18 Promote Heading for the Scottish Hills web site                  SNH/LL&TNPA/CNPA
 4.19 Promote Scottish Outdoor Access Code advice relating to stalking to members and to
       the general public via the website linking to the HFSH / Hill phones when the scheme
       is launched each summer                                             Ramblers Scotland
 4.20 Take opportunities to publicise and promote the rights and responsibilities of the
       public with regard to walking during the stalking season            Ramblers Scotland
 4.21 Liaise over issues relating to access and stalking through the National Access
       Forum                                                               Ramblers Scotland
 4.22 Encourage responsible access through the Land Management Access Forum LL&TNPA
 4.23 Develop new tools to assess chronic stress in free-ranging populations of deer,
      specifically to develop appropriate methods to determine effects of disturbance on
      deer welfare                                                                       BDS

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

       5. Training   &    Wild    Deer
          Welfare

The provision and uptake of
training is central to establishing
a strong skill base in the deer
sector. This helps to ensure deer
management is carried out
effectively with knowledge and
best practice underpinning all
actions and decisions.
Wild deer welfare underpins
WDNA. Existing work will be built on to increase understanding of practical
deer welfare.
We need to ensure there continue to be plenty of opportunities to develop further
employment, skills and knowledge in the sector to build capacity. We need to ensure that
the current diversity of events and training courses continue and are expanded.
What will be done in 2018?

Ensure a strong skill base in deer management
 5.1 Hold a WDBP Demonstration Day for colleges                                       SNH
 5.2 Hold Habitat Impact Assessment Training Days                     SNH/FCS/ LL&TNPA
 5.3 Run an event on best practice in food hygiene and carcase preparation            SNH
 5.4 Hold Open Range Days and Run DSC courses                                  BASC/BDS
 5.5 Deliver two sessions for the public on exemplary venison butchery to engage with DIY
     audience                                                                SNL/SVP/FES
 5.6 Run the advanced Deer Management course                                         BDS
 5.7 Work with Food Standards Scotland and others to raise awareness of, and to
     minimise risks of, contamination in the food chain in relation to venison SNH/SVP
 5.8 Provide training, as requested, to support deer managers in the Assynt area      SWT
 5.8 Promote positive and rewarding career choices through the Lantra Industry
     Champion’s Initiative                                                          Lantra
 5.9 Organise a careers influencer event for the north of Scotland and support for career
     events arranged by other organisations to raise awareness of career opportunities in
     the land-based and environmental conservation sector                           Lantra
 5.10 Celebrate the achievements of learners and new entrants through the Land-based
     and Aquaculture Learner of the Year awards                                     Lantra
 5.11 Develop a SVQ Level 4 (SCQF Level 8) Rural Land Use and Management award and
     technical Rural Land Use And Management Modern Apprenticeship SCQF Level 8
     framework, which includes a gamekeeping learning pathway                       Lantra

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

Understand, promote and deliver wild deer welfare
 5.12   Roll out the revised WDBP Guides on welfare                                    SNH
 5.13   Promote and run training on the updated WDBP Guides on welfare                SNH
 5.14   Continue to be closely involved in work to assess the risk of Chronic wasting
        disease to deer populations in UK                                             BDS

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

Annex 1: Monitoring and Reporting
WDNA will be monitored and reported in two ways:

Annual Action Reporting

Annual reports will set out progress against annual actions. These will provide an insight
into the depth and breadth of actions which have been delivered across the deer sector and
beyond. Each action contributes to a specific priority or in some cases multiple priorities. A
summary of key achievements for the preceding year will be included in each WDNA Action
Report.

Monitoring the Impacts

A set of revised indictors have been included in the 2014 WDNA. An initial report, covering
the period 2008 – 2013, is available on the SNH website. These indicators reflect trends in
the state of the environment, economy and society as they relate to wild deer. They will
continue to be refined and developed.

Biannual reports on the indicators will be produced. Together with data and analysis from
wider monitoring of ecosystems and social and economic benefits, these will help build a
picture of trends and progress.

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

Annex 2: List of Action Leaders and Contributors for this Action
Plan

Association of Deer Management Groups (ADMG)

British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC)
British Deer Society (BDS)
Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA)

Environment Link
Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS)

Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES)
Lantra
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority (LL&TNP)

Lowland Deer Network Scotland (LDNS)

Ramblers Scotland

Scottish Environment Link (Link)

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)
Transport Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT)
Scottish Venison Partnership (SVP)

Wild Deer Best Practice Steering Group (WDBPSG)

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Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA)

Annex 3: Structure of WDNA
Vision       By 2030:
             1. There will be widespread understanding and achievement of sustainable deer
                 management so as to contribute to:
             A high quality, robust and adaptable environment.
             Sustainable economic development
             Social well-being
             2.    Wild deer will be managed in an inclusive way with knowledge used to
                 underpin all decisions

Principles   Wild deer should be managed throughout their range in a way that –
             integrates deer management and other land-use objectives
             uses collaboration to achieve the management objectives
             uses a geographical scale and timescale best suited to achieving the management
                 objectives
             engages and communicates with all relevant interests
             uses sound science and the best available evidence
             promotes deer welfare
Outcomes     Management of all species of wild deer will contribute to:

             A   high quality, robust & Sustainable  economic Social well-being
                 adaptable environment      development
Objectives Contribute      to      healthy    a)      Increase      the   a) Contribute to a safe
               ecosystems and conserve            economic                     and          healthy
               and enhance biodiversity           opportunities                environment      for
               in the wider countryside           associated with wild         people.
           Secure      the      favourable        deer.                   b) Increase participation
               condition      status     of   b) Minimise economic             in management and
               Scotland’s             sites       costs attributable to        enjoyment of wild
               designated for nature              wild deer.                   deer.
           Help tackle and adapt to the       c) Provide the skills and   c) Manage the impacts
               effects     of      climate        knowledge required           of wild deer in and
               change.                            to manage deer as            around
           Minimise further spread of             an integral part of          communities.
               non-native deer species            Scotland’s natural      d) Promote venison as a
               in Scotland.                       resources.                   healthy food.
           Safeguard the welfare of all       d) Contribute to the
               species of wild deer.              social and economic
           f) Conserve and enhance the            development        of
               cultural    and     historic       communities.
               environment and the
               distinct identity, diverse     Contributing to all objectives
               character and special          Establish a shared, trusted and high quality
               qualities of Scotland’s            knowledge base associated with wild deer to
               landscapes                         support local action
                                              Develop effective frameworks for sustainable deer
                                                  management
                                              Raise awareness and understanding of wild deer
                                                  and their management

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