A popular Derbyshire photographer who opposes a large-scale deer cull in the Peak District says almost 6,000 people agree with him.
Sixty-three red deer were killed last winter and a maximum of 112 will be destroyed this season.
“Professionals in deer management” are carrying out the controversial cull on Big Moor, above Baslow, Curbar and Froggatt, to control spiralling numbers of the animals.
Villager Jim – who is famed for his breathtaking nature shots of the Peak District and took this picture of a stag and his daughter in Curbar – started a discussion about the controversial cull on his page on the social networking site Facebook.
He said: “Nearly 6,000 people have agreed with me that they don’t want it to happen.
“How really, really sad they should kill such an animal.
“What right do we have to say how many is too many?”
A spokesman for the Eastern Moors Partnership (EMP) – which manages the land where the cull is taking place – said: “If left unchecked numbers will grow to a point where the deer over utilise the resources on the moors and have to spread further afield to find food and shelter.
“Nature’s own way of preventing this would be to control the herd size with large predators, such as wolves.
“As these animals are now missing from UK ecosystems, the choice to keep deer numbers at balanced levels, which benefits both the animals themselves and the habitat they live in, falls to us.”
The spokesman said the culls are being carried out by “professionals in deer management in a sensitive and respectful way”.
Some opponents have suggested contraception should be considered as an alternative.
However, the EMP said birth control was not a viable option. “It would be the first step in turning these wild animals into farmed livestock,” it added.