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Bambi Bites Back

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 14 February 2012

Bambi has never had it so good. Changes in farming fashion now provide deer with delicious things to eat and warm places to sleep all winter long. The result is a big increase in numbers and a rapid geographical spread, taking our native and introduced species into the most urbanised parts of our islands.

In 'Costing the Earth' Tom Heap investigates the causes of the deer boom and some of the unexpected impacts. Deer take a heavy toll on young trees, enraging foresters and ruining the prospects for ground-nesting birds like nightingales. They're also meeting increasingly grisly ends, killed by on-coming cars or targeted by poachers armed with crossbows or air guns.

So should we wring our hands or celebrate the success of our largest land mammals? Should we cull and control or aim to make a profit from nature's bounty? Tom joins a team of specialists from Scottish Natural Heritage for a late night deer count through urban Scotland and meets a stalker who is offering wealthy Germans the chance to bag a lowland stag.

Producer: Alasdair Cross.

  • Roe deer at night

    Roe deer at night

    Deer numbers are increasing dramatically in lowland Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage is conducting surveys of deer numbers on the urban fringe using heat-sensitive cameras.

    Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Suburban roe deer

    Suburban roe deer

    Night photos courtesy of Scottish Natural Heritage.

  • Red Deer Stag at Glenquoich

    Red Deer Stag at Glenquoich

    The Association of Deer Management Groups is setting up a lowland deer network to share their expertise with landowners in southern and urban Scotland. Photo by Glyn Satterley.

    Association of Deer Management Groups



  1. Image for Costing the Earth

    Costing the Earth

    Man's effect on the environment, questioning accepted truths, challenging those in charge and…

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