Ventspils auctions off deer herd

Since 2006, a deer park is operating in Ventspils, western Latvia. The municipality is to cease its operations for financial reasons, and a herd of 38 is being auctioned off. 

The 32-hectare park currently has six fallow deer and 32 red deer, which will have to leave their home after being sold. The municipality arrived at the decision to close the deer garden starting October as increased competition reduced visitor flows and because the park needed considerable investment to continue operations.

"Thirteen years have passed, and the fence that was built back then should be renewed. It'd be a considerable investment to make. Then, of course, we should also renew the pasture and exchange the animals themselves. Basically all of these animals should be taken away and new ones should arrive to replace them," said Didzis Ošenieks, deputy chairman at the municipality.

While the spacious park has been basically good for the animals, visitors could mostly see the deer during feeding time. 

The park operated not just as a tourism object but also served educational purposes, and students routinely arrived here to feed the deer with acorns, apples and other goods. 

"I am sad the deer park is closing down. Many people like it here. We have regulars coming here with children, who have visited the garden continuously while growing up. They started young, now they're adults but they still come here," said Staņislavs Brauns, who worked here for seven years.

Part of the park is owned by the municipality, while another belongs to the state forestry company. For now, it's unclear how this place will be put to use in the future. 

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