A young deer is being nursed back to health after she was cruelly shot in the back.
The five-month-old Sika deer was found injured on farmland in Glencarney, Co Cork, last Saturday.
Although the deer is "bright" and feeding since she returned from the vet, it is still uncertain if she will be able to walk again as the bullet struck along her spine.
"Over the next couple of weeks we will ascertain if she has full use of her back legs. She had x-rays and the spinal cord is intact," said Rosie Campbell of Animal Magic rehabilitation centre in Kilmallock, Co Limerick, which is caring for the deer. The deer has been named Mairead after the sister of the farmer who found her.
The landowner became suspicious after he spotted birds circling over one area, and upon closer inspection he found the baby animal slumped and bleeding in a dyke.
The farmer and his sister Mairead O'Keeffe then contacted Ms Campbell.
It is believed that the young animal received the wound after a man with a rifle was spotted on the farmer's driveway the previous Thursday night.
"My brother Micheal found the poor little deer in the dyke. The crows were picking at her, and they were actually picking at where the shot had hit her.
"She was crying and trying to crawl away. She is a beautiful gentle thing," Mairead said.
The fawn has since endured two surgeries, and her recovery has been described as "remarkable".
The incident has been reported to the gardai, and Ms Campbell confirmed that it is "being investigated in terms of poaching". "You do not shoot a baby," she added.
Elsewhere, gardai in Co Wicklow are investigating the death of a horse that was found with severe injuries in a wooded area. The foal was found yesterday afternoon in the Ballymoyle Woods, close to Arklow town.