In september and october it is mating season for the Red Deer in Holland. One of the most popular locations in Holland to watch and listen to the deers, is the Hoge Veluwe. Usually mating season at the Hoge Veluwe is earlier then in the Oostvaarderplassen, another location where they live. This year we visited the Oostvaarderplassen to watch and listen to the red deer. Below the text you can find some photo’s of the trip.
The Red deer
The red deer is the largest kind of deer living in Holland. In Europe only the Elk is bigger then the red deer. Originally the red deer lives throughout Europe and Asia. It can inhabit various landscapes. And so, they used to live throughout the Netherlands. But due to human activity, they almost went extinct. King William I introduced the red deer to the Hoge Veluwe. In 1992, the red deer was introduced to the Oostvaardersplassen. Finally in 2005 the red deer was introduced to the Weerterbos. The red deer is not allowed outside these protected areas. When one is seen in other areas, it will be shot.
The Oostvaardersplassen are at the location of what once was a deep spot in the Southern Sea. It was an ancor place for the ships of the VOC. One of the reasons to create the IJseelmeerpolders, was the need of Farmland. But because the area of the Oostvaardersplassen was not suitable for Farmland, the Original plans were to make it an idustrial area. But in the process of creating the polder, a wetalnd arose. It appeared to be a good place for nearly extinct marsh birds beside ducks and geese. Biologists pleeded to save the marsh, and in 1973 in became a nature reserve. Various plans were made to manage the area as a nature reserve, and to make the wetlands suitable for various species. When the geese made it an open water, the management was changed to make it a marsh again. Part of the plan was that more dry lands were added to the reserve. To manage the dry lands, Heck cattle and Konik horses were introduced. Heck cattle is the result of a breeding programme by the Heck brothers. The Konik is the result of a Polish programme to recreate a primitive horse. To prevent thicket to overgrow the dry lands, in 1992 the red deer was introduced. Since several years the goal is to let nature have it’s way as much as possible. As a result, many of the cattle and deers were starving during cold winters. Public opinion caused a change. Since a few years weak animals are shot to prevent suffering.