The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has begun a cull of wild dear in Killarney National Park.
On foot of the recent report, personnel from the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department are currently undertaking a cull of deer in the National Park, which will be concluded by the end of March.
The proposed cull is at a similar level to that which was undertaken in previous years. It is anticipated that up to 80 deer will be culled as part of this exercise, which will be completed by the end of March 2017.
The aim is to cull approximately 20% males and 80% females. By the end of February 18 red hinds and 5 red yearlings had been culled.
The Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Michael Ring said this week as part of its regular on-going management operations, my Department carries out localised annual deer culls on State lands, if required.
He said his Department commissioned a comprehensive survey and report in the winter of 2016 on the distribution, population density and population structure of red deer and sika deer in KNP.
The study found that the total estimated red deer density over the entire study area of 13.64km2 was some 708 deer.
Minister Ring that there is a significant challenge in attempting to balance the demands of agriculture, forestry and conservation with the need to ensure that deer populations occupying the same land resources are managed at sustainable levels, and in a responsible and ethical manner.
He said that as has been the case previously, this work is undertaken by experienced, relevantly qualified and competent National Parks and Wildlife Service personnel of the Department.
He said the remains will be processed and disposed of in full compliance with the applicable Department of Agriculture , Food and the Marine guidelines, and with the involvement, as appropriate, of officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.