One of my favourite places to go before lockdown is Dyrham Park; a mansion and country park run by National Trust. This is a place where I can go for a big walk and yet still enjoy the nature, and nature means the landscape and the wildlife, not to mention the beautiful background of Dyrham House.
I was planning to revisit next week after lockdown eases. The plan was to take a good look at all the resident animals again. As with this pandemic/lockdown situation, when we can’t do crazy travels like we used to do; hence, to travel locally did not harm anybody. So for the time being, to travel local or as they say – staycation, is the first step.
For me, Dyrham Park, is half an hour away from where I live by car where I can visit and have a full dose of wildlife. There resides a herd of 70 fallow deer; the type of deer with white spotted backs, and they have been residents of Dyrham Park for generations, or rather the last 300 years. Hence the name ‘dyrham’ – from deer – the residents of the 109 hectares ancient parkland.
I remembered clearly that in winter, the deer park opens early to give opportunities for interested visitors if they would like feed the deer with extra food to help them survive better in the cold. My husband and I volunteered to do so in 2017 and I think because it was so cold, no body else joined in; so we were the only couple to help feeding the deer aside from the deer keeper.
Normally the fallow deer are so skittish and running away from humans when we get too close to them, but this time they are like waiting for us in line for the hand out.
Bovine TB infection
Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease of cattle. It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) which can also infect and cause disease in many other mammals including humans, deer, goats, pigs, cats, dogs and badgers. However, there are concerns by some that badgers are responsible for spreading bovine tuberculosis to cattle and maybe in this case deer as well. This has led to badger culls taking place in certain areas in the UK.
Latest news from Dyrham Park officials said that they have been battling against the disease since it was first detected at the park in 2007, and they’ve tried every measures to protect the deer, including adding extra fencing, carrying out a badger vaccination programme and stopping cattle grazing in the park had all been tried, without success.
Thus, late last week the National Trust decided that they have no other choice except to to make the very difficult decision to humanely cull the entire deer herd. :((
I will miss them terribly as I cannot imagine not having all the deer at Dyrham Park, and hoping that they will be replaced as soon as they can get rid of the virus in the area.