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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 20 A S U R V E Y O F T H E D I S T R I B U T I O N O F D E E R IN S U F F O L K STEPHEN A . CHAM

Deer are currently thought to be more abundant in the British Isles than at any time for 1,000 years. There are now seven species of deer living in a free State in Great Britain and of these, four species are seen regularly in Suffolk. Only the Red deer (Cervus elaphus) and Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) are truly indigenous to Great Britain. Fossil evidence from the Forest Bed exposed at the base of the cliffs near Cromer in Norfolk suggests that deer have been present in East Anglia for about 500,000 years. However, Red and Roe deer became extinct in East Anglia through persecution by man and the four species currently found in Suffolk are the descendants of accidental or deliberate introductions. Most species of deer are traditionally woodland creatures and Suffolk offers a wide variety of suitable habitats. The large coniferous forests of Breckland and the east coast, the mixed deciduous woods of the Suffolk boulder clays and the small copses and shelter belts of the agricultural land all provide suitable habitat for deer. The Survey

Due to the apparent increase in deer numbers in recent years a survey was organised to evaluate the present day distribution of deer in East and West Suffolk (Vice counties 25 and 26). The survey spans a period from January 1980 to December 1983, but records prior to this have been consulted in order to evaluate the expansion in deer distribution in the county. Articles and advertisements were published in the journal of the British Deer Society, the Suffolk Trust for Nature Conservation's newsletter and several local newspapers in order to promote the survey. Sight records from areas where a species was known to exist were accepted at face value but doubtful or unusual records were only accepted if confirmed by an experienced observer. Records of tracks and droppings were treated with caution unless confirmed by a sight record as there are difficulties in identifying species by these methods. For example, in summer the tracks of a Fallow fawn or young Roe can easily be confused with those of an adult Muntjac. The presence of wild deer in a particular area at any point in time is not always indicative of a resident group of deer. Cranbrook and Payn (1970a) recorded how sporadic deer sightings can be in any one parish. At Great Glenham both Fallow and Red deer were seen between 1965 and 1969 during the summer but no sightings occurred during the winters. Symonds (1983) documents how at a Cambridgeshire nature reserve no evidence of deer was found up to 1982 but, due to the large number of visitors, a Muntjac was recorded in June 1982. These examples illustrate some of the restrictions of a survey of this nature showing how deer could easily be overlooked in remote areas. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20


A SURVEY OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF DEER IN SUFFOLK

11

The results of the survey are plotted as distribution maps for each species on the 2km 2 vice-county tetrad basis using current BRC (Biological records centre) nomenclature. Blank tetrads are not necessarily indicative of the absence of deer, but possibly an indication of low population density. Results The species of deer currently living in a free S t a t e in the British Isles are: Red deer (Cervus elaphus) Sika deer (Cervus nippon) Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) Fallow deer (Dama dama) Chinese Muntjac deer (Muntiacus reevesi) Chinese Water deer (Hydropotes inermis) Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) As a result of the survey Red, Roe, Fallow and Muntjac were found to be present in Suffolk in appreciable numbers; Reindeer, Sika deer and Chinese Water deer were not recorded. Sika deer occur in Kilverstone Wildlife park, a deer park at Melton Constable in Norfolk and at Kessingland Wildlife park in Suffolk and it is possible that any future escapees from these parks may move into Suffolk. Chinese Water deer have been recorded in the neighbouring counties of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. In Cambridgeshire there are good numbers at Woodwalton Fen NNR only 38km from the Suffolk border and it is quite conceivable that Chinese Water deer could come from this direction. They also occur in the Norfolk Bropds and there have been unconfirmed rumours of sightings at Oulton Broa^ near the Suffolk border. Some of the Suffolk coastal marshes could provide a suitable habitat for this deer. Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) Distribution map: Fig. 1 The original wild Roe deer of Suffolk were probably extinct in the 18th and early part of the 19th centuries. The Roe currently found in Suffolk are the descendants of a group of six pairs introduced from WĂźrtemburg in Germany to Warren Wood near Thetford by William Dalziel MacKenzie in 1884. (Noble, 1903). By 1903 Roe had spread some 15 miles southwards into Suffolk being recorded around West Stow, Icklingham, Livermere and Euston. In 1922 most of Breckland was taken over by the Forestry Commission who instructed warreners to control Roe numbers. Roe deer control was at a peak up to 1939 and constant persecution probably helped push the Roe into the surrounding areas. In 1937 Roe were reported to be numerous around Brandon and by 1938 they were present around the River Lark at Mildenhall. By 1947 they were well established at Tuddenham Fen and Cavenham Heath and they were being sighted south of the now A45 between Bury St. Edmunds by 1951. (Taylor Page, 1953). Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20


Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 20

SUFFOLK WATSONIAN

ROEDEER (Capreolus capreolus) L. • 1980-1983 Wataonian vica-county boundaria» whara thaaa d l f f a r f r o m a d m i n i s t r a t i v e b o u n d a r i a «

Fig. 1.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20

VICE-COUNTIES

25 26

East S u f f o l k Waat SuffolK


A SURVEY O F T H E DISTRIBUTION OF DEER IN SUFFOLK

13

The current distribution of Roe deer is still centred on the Thetford Forest area (see Fig. 1) and in 1982 it was estimated that about 4,000 Roe were present in Forestry Commission woods around Thetford, about 1,500 being present in the Suffolk sector (R. Whitta, pers. comm.). In the King's Forest, where four species of deer occur, Roe were found to be the most abundant species in a recent survey (D. Chapman, pers. comm.). South west of the main Thetford Chase area there is a well established population in the Mildenhall woods. At Cavenham Heath N N R regulär observations between 1980 and 1983 revealed a resident population of up to eighteen individuals, most of which could be seen in small groups feeding or resting on the open heath. Good numbers also occur on the surrounding agricultural land where they can be found along the narrow shelter belts between fields. Roe are well established around Bury St. Edmunds, particularly around Ickworth and Livermere Parks. At Livermere there is a resident population of at least 24 adults (R. Curl, pers. comm.). Roe are also found in fair numbers in the woodlands along the Cambridgeshire border south of Newmarket. Düring a Forestry Commission census in February 1982, six does and four bucks were recorded in Ditton Park and Widgham Woods (Symonds, 1983). Roe occasionally occur on the Vesty Estate north of Haverhill. (Sir John Mowbrey, pers. comm.). Southeast of Bury St. Edmunds there are fair numbers of Roe in Lineage Wood and Stanstead Wood near Long Melford, where they have been known for some years. Roe are also present around Chadacre and in the Bradfield Woods. Roe are continuing to spread through Suffolk, particularly in an easterly direction. In the summer of 1982 some were seen eating recent coppice growth at Groton Wood (reported by R. Woolnough) and there have been several reports of Roe in nearby woods. Recently Roe have been observed around Hintlesham and Barking. In the middle of the county they are established between Woolpit and Haughley, and family groups have been seen around Stowlangtoft and at Thornham Magna. Roe are regularly seen at the STNC reserve at Redgrave and Lopham Fen. For several years there have been rumours of Roe being present along the east coast. Cranbrook and Payn (1970a) reported such rumours but doubted their authenticity. Düring the period of this survey a number of Roe sightings were reported from along the coast. In July 1983 a Roebuck was found injured near Dunwich and, after making a recovery, was released nearby (J. Docwra, pers. comm.). Roe have also been reported recently at North Warren near Aldeburgh, at Whin Covert at Theberton (J. Seago, pers. comm.), and also further south in the Rendlesham and Tunstall areas where they occur with Muntjac and Fallow. At present their numbers are very low and sightings infrequent. Further north, Roe are present in small numbers around Benacre, and on one occasion during the 1981/82 winter one was seen feeding with cattle in Benacre Park (D. W a k e l i n g , p m . comm.).

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20

d


Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 20 14 Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) Distribution map: Fig. 2 The history of Red deer in Suffolk goes back to before Neolithic times when Red deer are known to have been common in Breckland. Excavations at Grimes Graves in Norfolk have yielded hundreds of Red deer antlers which were used by man to digflintsfrom the chalk. However, the original Red deer were hunted out of existence in East Anglia and the current population probably owes its existence to the Norwich Stag Hounds which kept Red deer at Winfarthing Park at Diss. The Suffolk population has probably arisen from animals not recaptured at the end of a day's Stag hunting. The Norwich Staghounds were disbanded in 1963, but as early as 1950 eight to ten outlier groups of Red deer were known to exist (Taylor Page, 1953). Currently Red deer are established in Thetford forest and the forests of the east coast. There are, however, a number of smaller groups which account for occasional sightings in other areas. Along the east coast there is a group of 30-40 Red deer in the Somerleyton -Fritton area, and a smaller group ranging between Frostenden and Redisham. Whitehead (1964) records a small group of Red deer at Flixton Hall near Bungay in 1963 and also at Palgrave near Diss, and it maybe that this group moved eastwards along the Waveney Valley to account for the sightings around Somerleyton and southeast of Beccles. Red deer were known to be present at Somerleyton in 1968 (H. Arnold, BRC. pers. comm.) and J Seago (pers. comm.) found a reference to a Red deer stag in the area in 19 There are good numbers of Red deer in the forests and marshland between Minsmere and Walberswick. D. Wakeling (pers. comm.) found Red deer tracks going down to the sea in several places just north of Dunwich. It is possible that the deer were either eating seaweed or trying to obtain salt from along the beach. Another group ranges between Bruisyard and Great Glemham. Cranbrook and Payn (1970a) recorded a group of Red deer thought to number 25-30 in the Heveningham-Huntingfield-Walpole area. This group probably originated 12 years previously when a Single hind appeared in the area and gave birth to a Single calf. The group appears to have spread out and given rise to the Bruisyard and Dunwich groups. In October 1981 a young Red deer stag was seen over a period of several weeks between Nacton and Trimley. This animal was later captured and released on a deer farm in the Rendlesham area. Red deer stags are known to wander great distances and this animal could have easily come from the Bruisyard group, a distance of more than 20km. In West Suffolk the main concentration of Red deer is in Thetford Chase and currently there are approximately 40 on Forestry Commission land in the Suffolk part of the forest. The Red deer do not seem to stay in any particular part of the forest for long. Supplementary feed provided by forestry workers is often ignored as the animals move on (R. Whitta, pers. comm.). Ther have been a number of sightings of small groups and individuals (probably originating from the Thetford group) ranging over a wide area between Barton Mills-Brandon-Knettishall-West Stow. In 1969 a small group of Red deer were reported in Mellfield Wood and Free Wood at Bradfield St. George, but they appeared to move away in the Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20


A SURVEY O F T H E DISTRIBUTION OF DEER IN SUFFOLK

< *

15

^

SUFFOLK REDDEER ( C e r v u s e l a p h u s ) L. • 1960-1979 • 1980-1983

WATSONIAN

VICE-COUNTIES

25 Easl Suffolk 2 6 West Suffolk

2

TG 63

Fig. 2.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20


Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 20 autumn of that year. Chapman (1977) suggests that this group may have moved en bloc to woods just south of Haverhill where a small group appeare in 1970 and has remained to the present day. This group now roams over a small area of northwest Essex but has not been observed moving back across the border into Suffolk. In March 1980 tracks of Red deer were found in woodland between Burrough Green and Great Bradley, just south of Newmarket. Subsequent observations recorded a small group in this area. In January 1982 three Red deer were observed feeding in afieldof young cereal shoots near to Out Wood. Although this group's current ränge is mainly in Cambridgeshire the deer occasionally cross into Suffolk. The origins of this group are unknown but they had probably come from Thetford Chase. Other sightings of Red deer include a stag seen at Hunston in 1977, and three Red deer seen on farmland at Monks Eleigh in July 1981. In the autumn of 1982 a group offiveRed deer were present in the woods around Livermere Park. Düring October 1983 a young stag was seen for several days feeding on the embankment of the New Cut by the River Lark at Barton Mills, and in May 1983 a Red deer had been seen nearby at Tuddenham Heath by J Gaffney. 16

Fallow Deer (Dama dama) Distribution map: Fig. 3a. A species of Fallow deer was known to be present in England during the Second (Hoxnian) and Last (Ipswichian) Interglacial periods, but apparently became extinct during the Last (Würm) glaciation. Their reintroduction into England has been attributed to various periods, but was probably by the Normans in the llth Century (Chapman & Chapman, 1975). Although Fallow deer remain in a few forests where the species has been wild for centuries, to a very large extent the present distribution of Fallow deer in the United Kingdom is associated with former deer parks. In Suffolk it is the parks disbanded during this Century that can be most clearly correlated with the present distribution of wild Fallow deer. (see Figs. 3a & 3b). During the two World Wars the absence of estate staff caused many of the deer parks to fall into disrepair with the subsequent liberation of deer. The absence of gamekeepers and stalkers further enabled the deer to become established through lack of persecution. All the Suffolk deer parks have been disbanded except Helmingham Park, which has been in continuous existence since 1500, and today Lord Tollemache manages veryfineherds of approximately 200 Red deer and 400 Fallow deer. Some of the earliest records for wild Fallow in Suffolk come from Henham, where in 1914 part of the park herd escaped from the Stradbroke Estate (Taylor Page, 1953). Descendants of these original escapees can still be seen around Henham and also in the forest around Dunwich. Stradbroke (1975) records approximately 60 Fallow in the area around 1973 and notes the unusual sighting of 17 white Fallow in the area in January 1974. Further south on the coast escapees from the deer park at Campsea Ashe around 1948 formed the nucleus of the large population of Fallow in the Tunstall and Rendlesham Forests. Today there is a high concentration of Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20


SUFFOLK FALLOW DEER (Dama dama) L. • 1960-1979 • 1980-1983

WATSONIAN

VICE-COUNTIES

25 26

E . . I Sutfolk Waat Suffolk

Wataonian vicc-county b o u n d a r i « w t u r t thaa« dlffar trom administrative boundai•••

Fig. 3a.

Trans. Suffolk

Nat. Soc.

20

d


Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 20

18

Fallow in this area and groups of between 50 and 100 individuals are regularly observed, particularly in the winter months. A small offshoot herd from this group is often seen between Easton and Hacheston. South of Ipswich the deer parks at Orwell Park and Woolverstone Park gave rise to wild groups of Fallow around 1929. It is known that Orwell Park formerly carried a herd of about 60 Fallow (Whitehead, 1964). Recently there have been numerous sightings in the area between the River Debden and the River Stour. DĂźring the 1981/82 winter a group of about 60 Fallow was seen near Nacton, and about the same time of year a small group of bucks was seen swimming across the River Orwell. This suggests that some intermixing occurs between the two groups.

SUFFOLK WATSONIAN

VICE-COUNTIES

25 26

E . . I Suftolk West Suffolk

Suffolk Deer Parks 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Ickworth Livermere Polstead Shrubland Helmingham*

' still in use Fig. 3b.

Trans. Suffolk

Nat. Soc. 20

Woolverstone Orwell Campsea Ashe Henham Flixton Hall


A SURVEY OF T H E DISTRIBUTION OF DEER IN SUFFOLK

19

Lord Tollemache (pers. comm.) notes a number of Fallow escaping from Helmingham Park prior to the park being refenced about eight years ago. This would account for sightings of Fallow between Framsden and Coddenham. DĂźring the 1982 open day at the STNC Fritillary Meadow at Framsden two Fallow does were observed running across a nearby field, and at the beginning of 1983 a Fallow buck was found dead in a backgarden nearby; one of its antlers had caught in the ring of a clothes line and it had died by Strangulation after a considerable struggle. There was another deer park nearby at Shrubland, but only occasional wild Fallow are seen in the area. One of the largest deer parks in Suffolk was Ickworth Park near Bury St. Edmunds. In 1949 the herd numbered about 130, and apparently this was only a third of what it was before the second world war (Whitehead, 1964). DĂźring the war the park was disbanded and liberation of the deer enabled them to become firmly established in the surrounding areas. Groups of Fallow originating from Ickworth are now seen over a wide area between Bury St. Edmunds, Newmarket, Haverhill and Long Melford. Many return to the vicinity of Ickworth for the rut in October, and many rutting stands are held within the current boundary of the park. The number of Fallow in this area has increased markedly in recent years and in several parishes have caused complaints from landowners. The numbers in the Cavendish area are particularly high. Cranbrook and Payn (1970a) record that the former deer park at Polstead gave rise to a group of Fallow just north of Long Melford at Kentwell Hall, and also a group in the Chelsworth-Whatfield area. These groups have also shown a marked increase in recent years (A. Faddy, pers. comm.). The only other deer park in Suffolk that appears to have given rise to a group of wild Fallow is the pre-first world war park at Livermere. Fallow are now rarely seen around Livermere and it seems likely that they have moved into the woodlands of the King's Forest and Thetford Chase where small groups are seen regularly. Chinese Muntjac Deer (Muntiacus reevesi) Distribution map: Fig. 4 The Muntjac owes its existence in Suffolk to the l l t h Duke of Bedford, who at the turn of the Century introduced Muntjac to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire. It is thought that the first introduction was of Indian Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) but these were later shot out and replaced by the Chinese or Reeves Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi). Both deliberate and accidental liberation of these deer enabled the Chinese Muntjac to become established in the Bedfordshire woodlands. By 1938 Muntjac were being recorded in east Hertfordshire and in 1940 a small deer which was later identified as a Muntjac was shot at Parham Wood near Framlingham. This would appear to be the first record of Muntjac in East Anglia. In July 1952 a Muntjac was observed near the swing bridge at Lowestoft. This animal was caught by the RSPCA and released in the vicinity of Dunwich. In 1953 two Muntjac were seen in woodland at Leiston in East Suffolk and in West Suffolk three animals were seen near Santon Downham (Taylor Page, 1953). By 1968 Muntjac were

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20


20

Suffolk

Natural

MUNTJAC (Muntiacus reevesi) Ogilby. 01900-1959 • 1960-1979 • 1980-1983

History,

SUFFOLK WATSONIAN VICE-COUNTIES

Watsonian vica county bourtdaries where these diffar from administrative boundaries

Fig. 4,

Trans. Suffolk

Nat. Soc.

20

Vol. 20

25 26

E n i Suffolk West Suffolk


A SURVEY OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF DEER IN SUFFOLK

21

established at West Stow, and in 1970 animals were seen in the Bradfield Woods and also at Ousden (Cranbrook & Payn, 197Qa). Currently the distribution of Muntjac across the county appears to be somewhat patchy. In West Suffolk, Muntjac occur in the Forestry Commission woods of Thetford Chase, the King's Forest and Mildenhall Woods where they attain relatively high numbers. In the King's Forest the Muntjac are the subject of a long-term study. The woods around Great Bradley on the border with Cambridgeshire hold good numbers of Muntjac. Düring a Forestry Commission census in February 1982 26 Muntjac were seen (Symonds, 1983). Muntjac are found in the woods around Alpheton, although not in great numbers (A. Faddy,pers. comm.) and still occasionally seen in the Bradfield Woods. R. Curl (pers. comm.) reports that Muntjac are in the woodlands around Livermere Park, although few. In East Suffolk the main concentration of Muntjac is in the Rendlesham and Tunstall Forests, where numbers have steadily been increasing since one was first seen in 1970 at Campsea Ashe. Muntjac bucks tend to patrol regulär paths within a territory, and on the B1078 near Sudbourne an animal has been seen crossing the road at the same point by three independent observers. Muntjac are also seen regularly in the Dunwich Forest and also at the RSPB reserve at Minsmere. There have been sightings around Hintlesham. Discussion Roe Deer Since the initial reintroduction of Roe deer into Thetford Chase in 1884 there has been a gradual spread of Roe both southwards and eastwards into Suffolk. In the early years persecution from foresters probably helped push Roe into new areas, but the Roe's own social structure would also promote this spread. At the time of the summer rut Roebucks become very territorial and young males would be ousted into surrounding areas by the more mature territory-holding males. The distribution of Roe deer (Fig. 1) is still centred on Thetford Chase, the King's Forest and the Mildenhall Woods, but numerous satellite groups are developing radiating out from this. Early records show that the initial expansion in the Roe's distribution was in a southerly direction. The easterly spread of Roe appears to be more recent. Düring the period of this survey there were a number of reports of Roe in East Suffolk (V. C. 25) where they had been previously unrecorded. The population density of Roe in the coastal forests is still very low compared with West Suffolk, as sightings are infrequent. It is, however, anticipated that Roe numbers in these areas will increase in future years. Red Deer The main concentrations of Red deer in Suffolk occur in the Breckland forests and the woodlands in the northeast area of East Suffolk where they

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20


22

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 20

are usually seen in small groups of u p to twelve individuals, and it is often extremely difficult to predict their whereabouts at any given time. The main Thetford group ranges over an extremely large area (see Fig. 2) and it is probably Wanderers from this group that are seen in other areas of West Suffolk. It is known that Red deer stags will wander over great distances (Matthews, 1972) and the majority of sightings of individuals away from the main areas were of stags. Occasionally small groups are seen away from the Thetford area, and it is encouraging to see that some of these groups are becoming established in their own right. In East Suffolk there appears to be four main groups of Red deer along the coastal forest belt, but sightings of individuals in between suggests some intermixing. Although it is thought that the Red deer in Suffolk and Norfolk are mainly derived from animals kept by the Norwich Staghounds (Cranbrook & Payn, 1970a; Whitehead, 1964) they may have been supplemented by park escapees f r o m surrounding counties. Flower (1887) and Cranbrook and Payn (1970a) have recorded that small groups of Red deer can arise even from a Single hind, and this is thought to have occurred in east Suffolk. If such occurrences continue then we can look forward to Red deer becoming established in new areas. Fallow Deer Fallow deer are probably the most abundant and widespread deer in Suffolk. They have been recorded across most of the county except the northern area of East Suffolk. The main concentrations of Fallow deer in the county are centred on deer parks disbanded since 1914. In much of the county Fallow deer numbers have increased so much since their liberation that it is difficult to separate the groups into distinct units based on a particular park. In some cases the habitat surrounding a park is not ideal for deer and they have moved into more favourable areas. This appears to be the case at Livermere where Fallow deer are rarely seen in the vicinity of the old park and have moved into the King's Forest. The distribution m a p (Fig. 3a) records the areas over which groups of Fallow have been seen, but this does not necessarily mean that each individual of a group will cover the whole of this area. Chapman (1977) records the greatest distance that marked Fallow deer were known to travel in Essex was 5km. Utilisation of areas within a group's ränge will vary at different times of year and between the sexes. For example in late September/October the bucks will congregate in established rutting areas in order to attract does from the surrounding area. In early summer, on the other hand, the does will search out secluded parts of their ränge in which to drop their fawns. Recently there has been some concern shown by landowners as to the high numbers of Fallow present in the county. The concern arises f r o m damage caused to arable crops, orchards, vegetable gardens and woodland. If numbers of Fallow deer continue to increase then some form of control will be needed. Not only are high numbers of deer a threat to crops, but they can

Trans. Suffolk

Nat. Soc. 20


A SURVEY OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF DEER IN SUFFOLK

23

be the cause of serious road accidents. Cranbrook and Payn (1970b) record a road accident near Whepstead involving a group of about 12 deer, and in 1981 deer were the cause of a fatal accident on the A12. John Seago (pers. comm.) records that as he was driving late one night near Bury St. Edmunds in November 1983 a herd of Fallow estimated at some 200 individuals crossed in front of his car; it took about 10 minutes for them to do so. Chinese Muntjac Deer Muntjac tend to spend most of their time in dense Vegetation where they develop a system of runs and establish territories. Because of these secretive habits and their small size they are easily overlooked. The current distribution map is therefore somewhat incomplete, tending to reflect the location of observers rather than the whereabouts of deer. In the surrounding counties there have been a number of sightings of Muntjac in urban areas. Symonds (1983) records Muntjac seen within the Cambridge City boundary, and Chapman (1977) records several urban sightings in Essex. In September 1983 a buck was seen running into a garden in Bury St. Edmunds. It later crossed a dual carriageway into an engineering works (Bury Free Press, 3.9.83). Chapman found that in six cases the Muntjac were young males, and they could have been young animals expelled from established territories. This behaviour could be a contributing factor to the rapid spread of Muntjac, and it is likely that Muntjac have been overlooked in many rural and urban areas of Suffolk. In the woods between Great Bradley and Newmarket the numbers of Muntjac on Forestry Commission land seem to be almost doubling each year (Symonds, 1983) and, if this continues, then the spread of individuals into Suffolk is also likely to continue. Conclusions At a time when so much of our wildlife is under threat from habitat destruction deer are thriving in Suffolk. Four species of deer are seen regularly in the county. Fallow deer are widespread across most of the county, Roe and Muntjac are continuing to spread into new areas, and Red deer, especially single stags, are also being seen in new areas. The reasons for the great success of deer in Suffolk are uncertain. Certainly the increase in forestry both by the Forestry Commission and private landowners has created ideal habitat for deer. The Forestry Commission must also be commended for their forward-looking deer management policies, which enable deer and forestry to coexist in harmony. Modern farming practices have probably also been a contributing factor. Automated farming reduces the amount of disturbance to the land, and over-wintering crops provide a valuable food supply for deer when other food items are in short supply. One cause for concern, however, is the increase in illegal deer poaching. DĂźring the survey period several instances of poaching were reported after the gralloched remains of deer had been found. Without actually witnessing Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20


24

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 20

the offenders in the act it is very difficult to take any action other than preventing a recurrence. However, despite this, deer continue to flourish and hopefully we can look forward to seeing deer in new areas of the county where they will form part of the richness and beauty of our countryside. Acknowledgements A survey of this nature cannot be carried out without the help of many observers and I would like to express my thanks to the following people who sent me records. In addition I am very grateful to Mrs. Norma Chapman and Richard Woolnough for their constructive criticisms of the manuscript. H. Arnold, H. Barnett, R. Beecroft, H. Brundle, Dr. D. Chapman, Mrs. N. Chapman, Mrs. E. Collins, B. Cotsgrove, D. Cridford, R. Curl, J. Docwra, B. Eastcott, L. Farrell, Mrs. N. Fletcher, P. Fordham, D. Friskney, Mrs. J. Gaffney, Mrs. M. Grimwade, J. Hanks, S. Hatch, T. Helps, P. Jackson, R. Lowe, Mrs. McGrath, J. Martin, H. Mendel, J. Moss, Sir J. Mowbrey, R. Parker, Mr. Pearson, B. Peck, D. Pope, B. Quilter, P. Quinn, J. Raincock, A. Rivett, J. Seago, Mrs. V. Sheldrake, Mrs. P. Shott, Mrs. C. Spencer, P. Spencer, P. Steggall, R. Symonds, Lord Tollemache, A. Watchman, D. Wakeling, R. Whitta, R. Woolnough, Mrs. F. Wrighton. References Beale, P. (1974). The wild deer of north and north-west Essex. In: Nature in North East Essex, 1973. 21. Colchester Natural History Society. Chapman, D. I. (1977). Deer of Essex. Essex Naturalist No. 1. Essex Fld Cl. Chapman, D. & Chapman, N. (1975). Fallow deer: their History, Distribution and Biology. Terence Dalton, Lavenham. Cranbrook, Earl of & Payn, W. H. (1970a). Distribution of deer in Suffolk. Trans. Suffolk. Nat. Soc., 15,123. Cranbrook, Earl of & Payne, W. H. (1970b). Distribution of deer in Suffolk. Part 2. Trans. Suffolk. Nat. Soc., 15, 222. Flower, W. H. (1887). A herd of red deer from a Single hind. Zoologist, 2, 344. Harrison Matthews, L. (1972). British Mammals. Collins, London. Noble, H. (1903). The birds and other animals of Thetford Warren. Zoologist, 8,155. Stradbroke, Earl of (1975). Letter in Deer, 3, 357. Symonds, R. (1983). A survey of the distribution of deer in Cambridgeshire. Nature in Cambridgeshire. Cambient, 26,52. Taylor Page, F. J. (1953). The wild deer of East Anglia. Trans. Norfolk Norw. Nat. Soc., 17, 316. Whitehead, G. K. (1964). The deer of Great Britain and Ireland: An account of their history, status and distribution. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. Stephen A. Cham, BSc, 45 Weltmore Road, Luton, Beds. LU3 2TN.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20

A survey of the distribution of deer in Suffolk  
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