Update: Fox removal from Clissold deer enclosure postponed
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.