Injured deer at Spurn

Statement on the injured deer found at Spurn National Nature Reserve

Statement on the injured deer found at Spurn National Nature Reserve

We are very concerned as a Wildlife Trust about the injured deer that was reported on Friday at Spurn National Nature Reserve. Despite multiple searches over the weekend by YWT staff and volunteers, the animal has not yet been located.

Photos of the injured deer were shared widely on social media, and from the concern shown by social media users and enquiries to our offices and staff we know many people have found this upsetting. We are sorry to anyone who may have witnessed this or seen the animal, as we know how distressing it can be. We share this upset and concern and will continue to keep an eye out for this animal. If you see the animal, please do notify us by calling 01964 650144.

If anyone encounters an injured or distressed animal on any of our reserves, the following steps should be taken:

• Please note the exact location you observed it
• Please then inform us, either by going to visitor facilities on-site, or by calling 01904 659570
• If you cannot contact us, then please call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999
• Please do not attempt to intervene as this can cause further stress and injury to the animal

We can then take the most appropriate action to address the problem. When on any nature reserve you should give animals plenty of space to avoid startling them, stick to designated paths, and if you do have a dog it should be kept on a lead at all times (many reserves operate strict ‘no dogs’ policies, but this is not always possible where rights of way pass through the reserve).

In common with other conservation bodies as well as farmers and other landowners, we use barbed wire to manage grazing animals on site. This is necessary for the safety of the animals, to ensure they do not enter other areas of the reserve, and for the public to keep them separate from animals that can be dangerous. For containing cattle, barbed wire or electric fences are the only suitable options for long-term management. You can learn more about our approach on stock fencing by downloading this document: Stock Fencing.

We use grazing animals as this is an effective way to maintain habitats on our reserves. In around 30 years of using similar fencing on reserves along the Humber, this is only the 6th reported incident we are aware of. However, that does not mean we cannot make improvements and we are always reviewing management on our reserves to ensure we are demonstrating best practice.

It appears from the photograph that the animal has caught its leg between double strands of barbed wire; this is usually a sign that an animal has been startled and had to make a jump from a standing start resulting in not gaining enough height to clear the fence.

As a result of this incident we will be removing double stranded barbed wire in areas where we are not using, or intending to use, grazing cattle. We will also look to move to single strands of either plain or barbed wire where appropriate; this will help to prevent an animal getting its leg caught in this way. We will also investigate the possibility of setting up deer passes in areas we know they use preferentially. These steps should further reduce the risk of future incidents.

If you have further questions after reading this, please email us on info@ywt.org.uk and your query can be passed to an appropriate member of staff.