Villager Jim opposes Peak District deer cull

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Villager Jim is asking people to share this picture showing a stag with a fawn on Facebook in a bid to raise awareness and gather opposition to the cull

A wildlife photographer - dubbed "the Banksy of the photography world" - has started a campaign opposing a cull of over 100 deer in the Peak District.

Villager Jim - who keeps his real identity a secret - is asking people to share a photo of a stag with its offspring to gather support.

He said he started the campaign to get officials to change their minds.

The Eastern Moors Partnership said the cull was needed to reduce numbers to a sustainable level.

The cull, which aims to reduce numbers from 262 to 150, is planned for an area near Curbar and Froggatt, known as Big Moor.

Villager Jim said he was looking at a picture he took of a "stag and its daughter" at Curbar, and it made him think "how really sad they should kill such an animal".

He said: "What right do we have on saying how many is too many?"

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Big Moor is one of the most isolated parts of the Peak District, but is only a few miles from Sheffield
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The Eastern Moors Partnership, which manages the area, is a joint venture between the RSPB and the National Trust

Danny Udall, from the Eastern Moors Partnership which is responsible for managing the area, said he understood it was an "emotive issue".

He said: "We understand and expect there will be a wide range of views surrounding the need to reduce the size of the red deer population."

The partnership said there were no natural predators, and if left unchecked numbers would grow to a point where they would move further afield to find food and shelter.

The cull, which will reduce numbers to 2011 levels, will be "carried out by professionals in deer management in a sensitive and respectful way to both deer and other wildlife," it said.

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Villager Jim said he hoped the campaign would get the authorities to change their minds

But, Villager Jim, whose work has featured on the BBC 's Countryfile show, said there was "nothing sympathetic about killing deer with guns".

Some opponents have suggested contraception should be considered as an alternative.

However, the Eastern Moors Partnership said birth control was not a viable option.

"It would be the first step in turning these wild animals into farmed livestock," it added.

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