A deer cull is to take place at a Lancashire nature reserve.
The current red deer population at RSPB Leighton Moss has steadily increased, causing damage to an important reedbed habitat, leading managers at the site near Carnforth, to take the decision.
Robin Horner, RSPB Leighton Moss site manager, said: “The decision to control deer has not been taken lightly.
“Deer control is a legal and widely undertaken part of countryside management in Lancashire, Cumbria and elsewhere in the UK.
“We have a legal responsibility to maintain and improve the condition of the nationally important wildlife habitats at Leighton Moss, and the deer control will be carried out as part of a wider landscape scale deer management programme in the area.
“The RSPB considered all non-lethal alternatives before determining this was the only remaining option to restore the quality of the habitat.”
Robin added: “We take our responsibility to protect vulnerable habitats and wildlife very seriously and would not be undertaking this action if it would have a detrimental impact of local populations of wildlife.”
The RSPCA said: “Though we understand why this difficult decision has been made we hope that the RSPB will take all measures to ensure that the removal of the deer is done in a safe and humane manner.”