Deer Cull has begun in Killarney National Park 

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have selected their wildlife management experts and have begun culling Deer in the Killarney National Park.  

The NPWS have anticipated that approximately 80 Deer will be culled during this project which will end in late March this year. 

The NPWS aims to cull around 80% of females and 20% of males before the end of the month. Culling more females than males is a conservation exercise used to improve genetic variation amongst the wild herds of Deer and has been exercised successfully  for many years. 

The Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs carried out surveys of Killarney National Park during winter 2016 to determine the distribution, population density and structure of the Red and Sika Deer herds. 

From these comprehensive surveys, it was identified that a cull was necessary this year. This is because the surveys found that the population density for the Red Deer was 708 within an area of 13.64km squared. 

Minister for the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs – Michael Ring, stated that there is a huge challenge in balancing all the incoming and continued demands for agriculture, forestry and conservation collectively. There is great difficulty in meetings these needs and ensuring that Deer populations in the National Park are managed appropriately (ethically, sustainably and in an economically viable manner.)

There will be more updates on this conservation project in the coming weeks. 


3 thoughts on “Deer Cull has begun in Killarney National Park 

  1. Interesting to hear about population control of large cervids in another part of the world. As you probably know, we use a combination of public hunting (licenses and permits) and professional shooters to control our herds. Professional baiting and shooting deer has become necessary in many urban and suburban areas.Also, the state of Pennsylvania has a wild heard of elk that originated from an introduction in the early 20th century. There are now about 800 animals in the heard, scattered over several hundred square miles of wild land. They are controlled with public hunting that is controlled with licensed guides and a lottery permit system. The money generated from the annual hunt is a source of income for the Game Commission.

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  2. Its quite interesting to see how common conservation issues are addressed and exercised in different parts of the world – particularly between different continents with similar terrain! One of the biggest problems that continues to face Killarney National Park in County Kerry, Ireland, is the mating and hybridization occurring between Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) and Sika Deer (Cervus nippon). The hybrid offspring of these mating incidents are normally targeted in culling and hunting activities licensed for conservation by the NPWS, like the circumstances mentioned in the blog post! This along with meeting requirements and requests from the forestry sector and minimising human-wildlife conflict i.e. deer jumping in front of cars on nearby motorways, are continually top priority for many of the Management plans done by this national park and their wildlife managers!

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  3. I understand the problem with hybridization and am familiar with Sika Deer. I once worked with another biologist on Assateague Island National Seashore on the east coast of the U. S. There was concern that the introduced Sika Deer and wild horses were overgrazing and destabilizing the dunes. And yes, we also struggle with the bio-politics of balancing best management practices and stake holder interests for forest regeneration, wildlife population control, public hunting, wildlife viewing, ecotourism, highway safety, etc.!!!!

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