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Parks to protect the emblematic deer of Rhodes to be established

Greece’s Environment ministry and the local government have decided to establish parks for the protection of the deer on the island of Rhodes. According to data by the University of Thessaloniki deer on Rhodes amounts to 6,284, locals speak of a much higher but unspecified number.

According to a joint decision by the Ministry of the Environment, the South Aegean regional government and the municipality of Rhodes “Five deer accommodation parks will be created in Rhodes in order to protect the animal population and save the primary sector from the damage they cause,” deputy governor of the Primary Sector Filimonas Zannetidis told state-run news agency amna.

The areas in which the parks will be located will be announced in the near future, but according to the information, they will include areas in the area of the Gadouras Dam, in South Rhodes, in Psinthos or Apollo and elsewhere.

The deer in the parks will be fed and watered, will be visited, the parks are friendly to the environment, offering jobs, as appropriate, ecologically so that the life of the deer, this emblematic animal of the Rhodes” said  Zannetidis stressed.

At the same time, he added that “these images must stop with the many traffic accidents must stop, the deaths in the fences, while the priority, as the island’s economy said, is our farmers and breeders who are affected.”

Deer of Rhodes, a unique animal in need of protection

In 2005, the Rhodian fallow deer (Dama dama) was reportedly found to be genetically distinct from all other European species populations and to be of urgent conservation concern.
After the devastating fires on Rhodes in summer 2023, when the deer lost its natural habitat and moved to inhabitant areas seeking for food, locals and primarily hunters wanted to get license to get rid of the “overpopulating” animals causing damages.

But even before the fires, in May 2022, the mayor of Rhodes had proposed the mass killing of overpopulated deer. The plan did not materialize as environmental organizations accused him arguing with data lacking any    no scientific evidence.

While the study by the University of Thessaloniki raises the number of deer on the island to 6,284, the estimates of the locals are that the real number is much higher, perhaps more than double, amna reported.

Stray sheep and goats

Next to the overpopulation of deer, local authorities have also discussed as issue of concern for the island also the high number of “unsupervised sheep and goats.”

“The situation cannot continue, immediate measures must be taken because areas are being abandoned and people do not want to deal with the primary sector anymore. It does not come out with the damages, they are huge and the producers are not compensated until now,” Zannetidis pointed out.

Regarding the stray sheep and goats there are thoughts “to develop more crews to catch the stray animals, bring them to slaughterhouses and distribute their meet  to socially active institutions.

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