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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch court has given the go-ahead for a cull of hundreds of red deer in a nature reserve north of Amsterdam, in a wildlife management case that has sparked fierce opposition from animal rights activists.

Thursday's ruling clears the way for marksmen to begin shooting hundreds of deer in the Oostvaardersplassen, a wetland reserve created for wild birds but which also is home to hundreds of deer, horses and cattle.

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The 5,480-hectare (13,541-acre) reserve, where animals are left to live in the wild, has seen angry protests in recent years because some of the grazing animals have starved during harsh winter months when there is little food available.

Regional authorities want to reduce the number of large grazing animals so that more varied vegetation can grow in the reserve.

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