Unique Deer Living in Shropshire Forest

The 2,500-acre Mortimer Forest is an important haven for several vulnerable species of wildlife.

A rare breed of deer is just one of the animals whose habitat is being preserved at Mortimer Forest, near Ludlow.

The long-haired fallow deer, not known to be found anywhere else, was discovered in the 1950s.

The 2,500-acre forest was once a Saxon hunting ground but now it is managed by the Forestry Commission to preserve rare species.

Alan Reid, a wildlife officer, said good management was the key to success.

He said the deer, although unique, had to be properly managed to “balance everything out”.

“They have no natural predators anymore and if we leave their numbers to just build-and-build, we’ll lose all the habitat for the butterflies, the birds and all these key species that we need to manage the habitat for.”

A goshawk
The goshawk is a familiar sight in the forest

Also found in the forest is the Wood White butterfly, regarded as endangered and being carefully monitored.

“We need to ensure that for five years there are food plants available for the butterflies,” Mr Reid said.

Another success story for the Forestry Commission is the revival of the goshawk.

In the 1980s there were just three breeding pairs in the woodland. Now there are 19 pairs.

Dormice too are becoming less scarce with 120 nest boxes providing a haven for them.


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