With lock-down gradually easing and with the UK slowly coming back to normality, incidents of illegal hunting have shown signs of increasing with no indication of slowing down.
Several incidents of hare coursing, deer hunting and setting up inhumane and illegal snare traps have been brought to light and to the attention of the public. Amongst those killed are several species of deer, including Roe, Reeves Muntjac, and the Red Deer, all but Reeves Muntjac are native species to the UK.
Reeves Muntjac are an invasive species to the UK and were first introduced in the early 20th century. Being classified as an invasive species, Muntjac are considered pests and are known to cause huge environmental and economic damage to the woodlands and heavily shrubbed areas.
Charles Smith-Jones, technical advisor at the British Deer Society describes Muntjac deer as ‘an environmental problem’ due to them inhabiting small wooden areas and eating, damaging, and living in the undergrowth which eventually leads to undergrowth deforestation, endangering different species of deer that rely on the undergrowth for shelter and food.
However, as much as they are considered pests, Muntjac deer are protected under the 1991 Deer Act, which prevents the unlawful killing, hunting, and stalking of these animals.