European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 365–377 | Cite as

Deer populations inhabiting urban areas in the south of Spain: habitat and conflicts

  • Jesús DuarteEmail author
  • Miguel A. Farfán
  • John E. Fa
  • J. Mario Vargas
Original Paper


The presence of deer in urban environments is a recent phenomenon in the Iberian Peninsula. Deer are essentially forest species whose populations are currently expanding into many areas, and the newly exurban areas, between urban and forest habitats, seem to comprise very favourable habitat for them. For example, the existence of golf courses in new residential areas appears to offer important resources for deer species. The urban boom during recent years in the south of the Iberian Peninsula has promoted the rezoning of certain forest areas. Some of these were previously hunting estates and the existence of game species has not been taken into consideration when developing these new residential areas. We tested the hypothesis that these new exurban areas are favourable for red and fallow deer. Our study area was located in a luxury residential resort in southern Andalusia (Spain) with a low housing density and two golf courses. We found a significant increase in the density of both these deer species in the area following the rezoning, probably due to the creation of more favourable habitat for deer and the cessation of hunting activity. Deer preferred the urbanised areas and especially the golf courses. We also found a significant increase in deer-human conflicts in the area. We discuss the value of golf courses for deer; the importance of considering common wildlife, such as game species, in the planning regulations when land is rezoned in order to avoid future conflicts; and the management of these species in urban areas.


Deer-human conflict Fallow deer Golf courses Exurban development Red deer 



We thank all the people who collaborated with us during the deer surveys as well as the gamekeepers of La Zagaleta. This research was supported by the EUC La Zagaleta but were not responsible for the design, implementation or interpretation of the results obtained in the present study. All the experiments and research carried out during this study comply with the current environmental and animal safety laws of Spain and Andalusia.

Supplementary material

10344_2015_902_MOESM1_ESM.doc (44 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 44 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesús Duarte
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Miguel A. Farfán
    • 2
    • 3
  • John E. Fa
    • 4
  • J. Mario Vargas
    • 2
  1. 1.OfitecmaMálagaSpain
  2. 2.Biogeography, Diversity and Conservation Research Group, Department of Animal Biology, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of MálagaMálagaSpain
  3. 3.Biogea ConsultoresMálagaSpain
  4. 4.ICCSImperial College LondonAscotUK

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