SCROLL TO BOTTOM OF PAGE TO READ LATEST STATEMENT FROM HACKNEY COUNCIL, ON DECISION TO POSTPONE FOX CULLIn a tweet this evening Hackney council has announced they are halting their fox culling procedure, with the promise of a full statement on it tomorrow.
Hackney Hive was first to report on the intended culling this morning, after a source close to the Parks Department, first alerted me to an eminent fox cull in Clissold Park. The source was not only disturbed by the planned cull, but the “secret and sneaky way” it was being conducted. The council had warned all employees with knowledge of the cull, to keep it confidential.
In light of recent concern, we have removed fox traps from Clissold Pk deer enclosure till further notice. Full update tomorrow
— Hackney Council (@hackneycouncil) October 8, 2015
The council say they were prompted to take action, after foxes moved into the enclosed area for deers. The concern is that the foxes pose a severe health risk to the deer, as well as a potential health risk to visitors to Clissold House.
Since Hackney Hive first covered the report this morning, there has been a huge outcry on line, including a petition urging the Council to re-think it’s decision. It also prompted the council to issue another statement, where they mentioned the word “cull”, something they omitted in their first carefully worded missive.
Clissold Park is home to a well-loved herd of fallow deer, which the Council is responsible for looking after and protecting.
“The Council installed a large fence around the deer enclosure a number of years ago to protect the deer, but unfortunately the foxes have managed to get into the enclosure where they have made a number of earths (burrows). We have been advised by our independent deer expert that, living so closely together, they pose a hazard to the health of the deer.
“The foxes raid litterbins and carry rubbish into the deer enclosure which the deer, who are attracted to rubbish that smells of food, are at risk of eating and could lead to ill-health and even death.
“The deer have been monitored for the past year, and have been witnessed eating the plastic rubbish on a number of occasions. In addition, the fox earths can cause hazards to the legs of the deer – such earths have injured deer in other deer parks.
“There are roughly four or five adult foxes currently living in a deer enclosure of seven deer. This far exceeds the ratio in any other London park – it is the equivalent of having many hundreds of foxes living in Richmond Park.
The Council will only remove the foxes living in the deer enclosure. They will be baited, trapped and humanely killed in strict accordance with government welfare guidelines; no other foxes in Clissold Park will be harmed, and there is no borough-wide fox culling strategy.
“Government guidance indicates that the relocation or release of foxes once trapped should not take place. In addition we have been advised that releasing the foxes into the established territory of other wild foxes will cause them distress or injury which could lead to extreme suffering.
“The alternative to this cull is that the deer are put at risk.
“We are looking into how we can prevent foxes returning to the site and the earths.”
New Statement – Friday 9 October
Following public concern, Hackney Council has removed fox traps from Clissold Park deer enclosure temporarily while it widens the discussion on the subject, including with the RSPCA.
The Council had made the difficult decision to humanely trap and remove the foxes in the interests of protecting the welfare of the deer; the health of which is at significant risk due to the presence of a group of adult foxes.
Currently, although traps had been laid, no foxes have been caught. However, the risk to the deer remains and this needs to be resolved.
The Council is happy to explore practical suggestions to deal with the problem, but stresses that this will need to comply with national guidance relating to the management of foxes while also protecting the welfare of the deer.
The Council will be contacting the RSPCA and the Fox Project who were critical of the Council’s decision to remove the foxes to consider whether there are any other workable solutions that will protect the health and welfare of the Clissold Park deer.
The Council would like to emphasise that this is not a borough-wide cull of foxes, of which we are strongly opposed, but an answer to a specific set of circumstances.
Trapping foxes and relocating or releasing them is contrary to government guidance and causes foxes extreme distress that could lead to a prolonged death. This includes moving them elsewhere in the park as this would place them in direct competition with other, highly-territorial foxes.
Deterring the foxes by some of the means currently being suggested is not an option as this could impact on the welfare of the deer. The Council is therefore left with a difficult decision about how it protects the Clissold deer, of which it has a duty of care.
The Council is also exploring ways for improvements to be made to the deer enclosure to prevent foxes from entering again.
Since 2011 the Council has employed a deer manager and a vet, who specialise in the health of deer, to advise on the management of the animals and to monitor their welfare. It is these experts who have recently raised concerns about the deer due to the presence of the foxes in the deer enclosure and the rubbish they are bringing to it.
The bins at Clissold Park, a popular, well-managed Green Flag park, are emptied on a daily basis, and often more frequently at busy times.
This story is being up-dated