Wildlife Columnist: Celebrating our own ‘Monarch’

editorial image

It is interesting what a difference a couple or three decades make. The first red deer established on Eastern Moors like Big Moor, were back in the early 1980s. Prior to then there were a few escapees from the medieval herd at Wharncliffe Chase, but that was all.

Furthermore, there were no other deer in the region apart from melanistic medieval herds of fallow deer around Stanton-in-the-Peak.

Today, roe deer are back across the region and penetrating deep into places like Crookes and Rivelin, to join the exotic muntjac deer. Both these species are now in as far as places like Sharrow.

Red deer occur in some hundreds across the wider moorland areas and are heading downslope to places like Eyam and Grindleford in the east, and Holmesfield and Millhouses in the east.

Head out to the high moors such as around White Edge and Barbrook and you will see, and especially hear the roar of the rutting monarchs.

This feels such a privilege especially having grown-up in a countryside lacking these magnificent beasts.

By the time you are reading this, the rutting will have mostly stopped and the moors will be quiet once again.

So if you missed them, this was one of the region’s ‘free-to-view’ natural spectaculars – make a date for next September!

Of course, the spread of deer is not to everyone’s liking and views alter when you see deer ‘in’ your garden as opposed to ‘from’ your garden.

Similarly, as the deer spread, then the risks of deer collisions with motorcars grow as well.

Having had many years without deer wild across the area we are not used to the risk of them stepping out in front of our cars.

Insurance premiums will also grow to reflect this risk.

We do have a long-term project to record sightings of deer across the whole area, so please send in your records [https://www.ukeconet.org/deer-identification.html].

Also, it is great to see the photographs that local folk are taking; so send those as well!

Do let me know what you think about sharing the countryside with Britain’s largest land mammal.