AN APPEAL has been issued to track down muntjac deer that could wreak severe environmental damage to Island woodland.
Environmentalists have confirmed they now believe red deer and the more damaging muntjac are living in the wild.
The Isle of Wight Natural History and Archaeological Society says it believes the deer are escapees from deer farms and describes muntjac as about the size of a medium-sized dog and highly damaging.
Isle of Wight Council senior ecology officer, Dr Colin Pope, said: "We have received a couple of reports of the muntjac deer, an introduced species.
"We do not know where they came from but if they become established, as could easily happen, they could be highly damaging to woodlands and plantations.
"In time that could lead to a deterioration of the habitat of red squirrels and dormice. We would be keen to hear reports of sightings of small deer in the countryside."
Lisa Cumming and her husband, Liam, from Spanners Close in Chale Green, said: "We were driving near our home when we saw two deer coming out of the mist."
If it is confirmed there are deer on the Island it would be highly likely they would be culled before becoming well established.