JEJU, Feb. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — Recent threats to their survival, such as wild dog attacks and habitat invasion, have prompted the need for the protection of Jeju’s roe deer population, once a headache for many on the island.
These deer, once known as the “symbols of Mount Halla,” experienced an explosive population increase over a decade ago, which resulted in resentment from farmers due to crop damage caused by the animals feeding in mid-mountain villages.
Consequently, the deer were temporarily designated as harmful wild animals from 2013-2019, and hunting was permitted, resulting in more than 7,000 deer being killed.
As a result, the number of roe deer decreased from over 10,000 to 4,200 in 2021, with the population gradually increasing after a ban on hunting entered effect.
However, the population has yet to return to full strength on Jeju, estimated at 6,100.
Experts attribute this to the gradual decrease in food-rich and stable habitat due to the development of mountainous areas, as well as the damage caused by the estimated 2,000 wild dogs living in the mountains of Jeju.
The dogs mainly target young or pregnant females, which hinders population growth.
The distribution of competitive animals, such as flower deer and red deer, is also thought to have affected the roe deer population.
The recently increasing numbers of these animals are known to be more aggressive and three to four times larger than roe deer.
Image Credit: Yonhap / Jeju City Office / email@example.com