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University Deer Project in Purbeck

University Deer Project in Purbeck features on the BBC One Show Tonight.

Research led by staff and students from BU’s School of Conservation Sciences on the ecology of Sika deer in Purbeck has been going on locally.

Dr Anita Diaz and her colleagues from the University’s Centre for Conservation Ecology and Environmental Change. The Centre is investigating how Sika deer influence a range of habitats in Purbeck, Dorset. A number of deer have been electronically tagged and monitored in recent years providing the Centre with an opportunity to examine their feeding ranges and measure their ecological impacts.

The project has involved extensive liaison between the University and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the National Trust, the Purbeck Association of the National Trust, the Ministry of Defence and  English Nature to investigate the ways they influence a range of habitats.

Great to see the local company Biotrack (specialists in animal monitoring with expert knowledge in bringing animals and technology together i.e. Mammal tracking including DataSika Data Logging Receiver) electronically tagging and monitor the deer .sika deer in purbeck courtesy of Bournemouth University Staglers

Sika were first introduced to deer parks in Dorset from their native Japan and East Asia just over a hundred years ago. A few individuals escaped and the Isle of Purbeck, to the west of Bournemouth, now has the largest group of feral Sika deer in England.

The Purbecks contain  internationally recognised wildlife habitats and Bournemouth University realise how crucial it is to determine the impact of wild Sika on plants and invertebrates that are important food sources for waterfowl.

Comments taken from Bournemouth University’s own website include:

SERT 1: Sika deer survey – School of Applied Sciences – Bournemouth University

“It’s been really great working with students from Bournemouth University on survey and monitoring work on the National Trust’s Purbeck estate. In 2012 they have helped us monitor our deer populations as well as the impacts deer are having in the woods we look after. They have also carried out detailed scientific surveys of our saltmarsh areas to see how sika are impacting the precious habitat. Their input has been really valuable in furthering our understanding of deer levels and their impacts, and this information helped us steer our management of deer for the benefit of these protected and special places.”

Practioner collaborator: Mr Toby Branston (RSPB Dorset Ecology Manager).

“The ongoing support and professional way that Bournemouth University has contributed to our deer control programme has enabled us to continue with vital work, which is helping to restore some very degraded areas of rare habitat in the Purbecks. The Arne annual saltmarsh survey and the 3 yearly heathland survey carried out by the University students and research assistants provide us with the scientific back up required to help direct our deer control work. This follows years of help with the initial research work in Sika ecology which included a detailed radio tracking project and their impacts on the habitats of Arne and wider in the Poole Harbour basin area.”

For further information please contact Dr Anita Diaz.

Watch this space for more local eco-news.

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