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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: April 2011

5 - The census and management of populations of ungulates in Europe

Summary

Introduction

Over recent decades managers have had to cope with populations of ungulates which have substantially increased both their range and density in Europe (see Apollonio et al.,2010, and references therein). In fact, of the 20 different species of free-ranging ungulates in Europe, only fallow deer Dama dama populations have remained comparatively stable in the last decades. This situation has been perceived by some people as a positive change, leading to greater opportunities for observation of native ungulates by the general public, as well as increased opportunities for those interested in hunting. Unfortunately this marked change in status also has some drawbacks where there is perceived to be an increase in ungulate–human conflicts. Ungulates may cause significant damage to farming and forestry (see Chapter 6 this volume), collisions with vehicles (see Chapter 8), and the spread of disease (Simpson, 2002; Chapter 7 this volume). In addition, there is a growing concern that large populations of ungulates may have a substantial effect on ecosystem function (e.g. Danell et al., 2006). Consequently, in many countries society considers that managers should control ungulate populations through hunting in order to meet specific management objectives (Sinclair, 1997). In practice, the management of most populations of ungulates consists of setting harvest quotas for hunting.

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