REPORTS of deer attacks in a Highland village have prompted locals to ask for the reintroduction of a controversial cull in the area.

More than 20 stags have settled in Kinlochleven, six miles southeast of Fort William, after one made its home there four years ago.

Back in January, a plan to cull the deer was ditched after some of the local residents argued that the community should learn to live side by side with the animals.

The Kinlochleven Community Trust, which owns most of the open area surrounding the village, is trying to find a solution to the row alongside government agency NatureScot Highland council and local landowners.

Steve Connelly, the trust’s chairman, said: “Life has been made too easy for the deer. [They have been] fed by locals so they have stayed during the summer, which is very unusual. [People] have continued to feed them which has made them reliant and quite unhealthy.”

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Connelly says that the deer have been intimidating the local community and alleges that a dog was bitten by one of the animals.

He said: “The deer are majestic and the ability to get that close to a wild animal is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“What’s happening now is the deer are losing their fear of people and domestic animals and in some cases they actually intimidate and in one case attack people and pets.

“People have to be realistic. Deer that are born in an area will always want to return, so the only way we are going to get rid of them at the moment is by holding a cull.”

One octogenarian resident, Betty Green, has led local protests to fight for the deer to stay in the village.

She has told of how she saw a hind with two of her young being shot at during the night and later saw a carcass being harvested.

She told The Sunday Post: “It was a beautiful stag that I had got to know personally and seen around here for years. This is not an acceptable thing to do in a built-up area like this.”

The Scottish population of deer is somewhere between 750,000 and one million, with around 100,000 being culled every year, most of which are red deer.

Experts have argued over the threat that the animals pose to woodland regeneration, with the conservation lobby being the most vocal supporter of culling.

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Last year, the Scottish Government accepted a report by the deer working group that looked to use existing powers to set targets for population management by forcing culls.

This would remove control of population numbers from the hands of landowners, with some fearing this would affect their commercial stalking.

According to NatureScot, the cull in Kinlochleven was halted in April due to expiry of licences.

However, it has said it continues to look at the remaining issues.

“We expect a meeting within the next few weeks so we can consider our options,” it said.