Hackney Council has backed down from a planned cull of wild foxes in one of its parks after a national outcry.
Late on Thursday evening, the local authority announced on Twitter it would remove the traps from around a deer enclosure in Clissold Park after widespread criticism from social media and animal rights groups.
In a statement a council spokesman insisted that previous non-lethal attempts to protect the deer, including building a fence around the enclosure, had failed.
He said: "We have been advised by our independent deer expert that, living so closely together, they pose a hazard to the health of the deer.
"The foxes raid litterbins and carry rubbish into the deer enclosure which the deer, who are attracted to rubbish that smells of food, are at risk of eating and could lead to ill-health and even death.
"There are roughly four or five adult foxes currently living in a deer enclosure of seven deer. This far exceeds the ratio in any other London park – it is the equivalent of having many hundreds of foxes living in Richmond Park."
The spokesman did not confirm whether the cull had been cancelled or simply postponed when asked by The Independent.
Peta spokeswoman Sascha Camilli called the proposed cull a "political move" and said: "It's an ignorant and arrogant slaughter of wildlife and flies in the face of both common sense and the facts.
"The methods used are cruel, and as long as an area is appealing and accessible, more foxes from surrounding areas will simply move in to take the place of those who were killed, thereby creating a perpetual killing cycle that does nothing whatsoever to provide a long-term solution."
A Change.org petition calling on the council to reconsider was launched within hours of the news being broken and has gathered over 4,000 signatures to date.
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