Renewed fears for Clissold Park deer

Top expert advised Stoke Newington enclosure not fit for deer three years ago

A LEADING deer expert has warned that the animals are not suited to life in Stoke Newington’s Clissold Park enclosure, it has emerged this week.Vet John Fletcher carried out work for the RSPCA at the park’s popular pets’ corner in 2007.

He considered the site “hopelessly overcrowded” and recommended leaving the deer population to dwindle away because the site was “unsuitable”.

At a full meeting of Hackney Council two weeks ago, the Cabinet member for communities, Cllr Jonathan McShane, claimed that councillors would not support keeping the fallow deer in the park were they to be advised that their welfare was at risk.

However Mr Fletcher took away a poor impression of the park’s deer enclosure three years ago.

“It’s very noisy, it’s very smelly, the ground is degraded, there’s not much grass and they are constantly exposed to people because there’s not enough shelter from them,” he said.

“All these things conspire to make it not a very nice place for them,” said the vet, who has 40 years’ experience and runs his own deer park in Scotland.

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Mr Fletcher performed a vasectomy on the dominant male and re-homed several other males.

As several of the does were pregnant at the time, he proposed a two-year programme to remove other males once they had reached sexual maturity to prevent further fawns being born.

“By stopping them breeding, the herd would have ceased to exist in a few years when they became old and died,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the project fizzled out and when I asked to go back the next year and finish off the project, nothing happened.”

Mr Fletcher’s belief that the project should not have come to an end is supported by the birth of a fawn earlier this month.

Concern over the welfare of the dozen fallow deer came to light in August when night-time intruders broke into the enclosure, leading to allegations not enough had been done to protect the deer during the park’s �9 million revamp.

A spokesman said that the council was unaware of Mr Fletcher’s recommendations to the RSPCA.