Tens of thousands of pounds has been made by the Royal Parks from selling the carcasses of culled deer from Richmond Park.

The Royal Park - which covers 2500 acres - has been revealed to have made £24,985 from buyers after their shoot in February 2017, and £15,157 in November 2016.

According to the charity’s website, with 630 deer roaming freely across the ground and more than 200 births each year, the deer population would increase beyond the park’s carrying capacity and result in starvation and malnutrition, if the cull did not take place.

A Royal Parks spokesman told Richmond & Twickenham Times: “The Royal Parks is an expert manager of enclosed deer herds, which are under veterinary supervision, deer populations are actively managed to keep herds at a sustainable size.

“Without population control, food would become scarce and more animals would ultimately suffer. There would also be other welfare issues such as low body fat, malnutrition, high incidence of death from exposure to cold in winter and a build-up of parasites and diseases in deer.”

A request under Freedom of Information laws submitted by the MailOnline, revealed that this year’s culled 110 female deer generated £186 profit per carcass, whilst the male deer culled last year, fetched £138 per carcass.

“As a result of the cull, the meat is sold to licensed game dealers and all the money is reinvested into caring for our herds,” added the parks spokesman.

“It must be stressed we do not undertake commercial deer farming, and as such the meat is not labelled as Royal Parks when it is sold to the consumer.”

The reported figures have been slammed by animal activists who are campaigning for other, ‘non-lethal’ methods to be used and questioned the need of the population to consume venison.

Tod Bradbury, Animal Aid campaigner, said: “It’s a tragedy that these majestic wild animals who are so greatly loved by visitors to the Park and local residents should be routinely killed, and callously sold for meat.

“It is highly disturbing to think that such large profits are being made from brutally robbing these animals of their lives."

It is understood that without the cull the growing population of deer in a restricted park would soon lead to a build-up of parasites and other pathogens causing disease in the deer.

Mr Bradbury said: “Instead of reaching for the gun, we should learn to live in harmony with wildlife, and the Park should use its resources to seek humane, non-lethal alternatives.

“There is no need to eat venison, or any other animal product, since we can get all the nutrients we need from a cruelty-free, vegan diet.”

The charity has stated that is does not provide contraceptives to the deer as there are none licensed for use in the UK and that it could pose a thread for other wild animals in the park and interfere with antler growth and shredding.

Royal Parks are a member of the Deer Initiative of England and Wales, who are responsible for ensuring the delivery of a sustainable, healthy and well-managed wild deer population.

In the Deer Initiative's (DI) 2016-2017 annual report, it was identified that ‘all the major conservation bodies now recognise the need to cull deer where the negative impacts outweigh the positive benefits’.

In addition, the DI has ‘the support of the RSPCA’, who they have developed a ‘Best Practice’ with – along with other partners – also endorsed by the government.

According to the Scottish Venison Partnership, who represent the producers of venison in Scotland, venison is now recognised as one of the most nutritious of all red meats with less than two per cent fat - lower than skinless chicken - no salt, no sugar and a good source of iron.

Dick Playfair, secretary at the SVP, said: “Culling is important from a der welfare point of view, especially with insufficient grazing – it is part of the deer structure because it needs to be done to protect the deer and the habitat.

“In the last 10 to 12 years venison sales have really taken off in the UK, especially as people are beginning to understand the health benefits because it is the healthiest meats and it is now available all year in most supermarkets, butchers and food stores.”