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Research at St Andrews

Abi Whitefield


Research overview

PhD Title

Managing Urban Deer in Scotland: Understanding Perceptions to Shape Policymaking


Deer in urban and urban fringe areas in Scotland have become an increasing issue in recent years, due to their growing populations and encroachment into urban environments. As a result, human-deer interaction has increased, with the conflict between the two resulting in the possible need for deer management. A paucity of previous research means that little is known about these urban deer populations, with perceptions of urban deer and urban deer management also poorly understood. Consequently, policies are being shaped without much of an evidence-base, with the academic literature on the subject almost solely stemming from North America.

This study aims to understand the perceptions and experiences of experts, local authority staff, local councillors and the public regarding urban deer and deer management, aiming to shape policymaking on the topic. Local authorities have been identified as a potential key actor in the management of deer in urban areas. Interviews were undertaken with experts, which helped to form a concourse for a Q-methodology study undertaken by local authority staff from across Scotland. An online survey examined the views of local councillors on the topic, with a public postal survey being planned within two areas of Scotland to examine public views.

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