NatureScot Commissioned Report 944 - Practical indicators to assess the welfare of wild deer in Scotland
This study examined the possibility of using practical indicators to assess the welfare of wild deer. Deer welfare is a specific provision mentioned by the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.
Nine indicators are recommended by the report. Each focuses on observing either an aspect of a deer’s body condition or an aspect of its behaviour. Deer managers, field workers and conservationists can use the indicators in the field to assess the likely welfare state of an animal.
Indicators of welfare are best used in combination and over a period of time – at least several days. The indicators aim to give an insight into the welfare of wild deer at both an individual and group level. Some of the indicators can be applied statically and dynamically.
Two earlier reports had suggested some possible welfare indicators. The present study found that these are hard to employ in the field or may be confounded by other factors.
Publication 2016 - NatureScot Commissioned Report 944 - Practical indicators to assess the welfare of wild deer in Scotland
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