The discovery of an unborn deer on a public pathway in the Killarney National Park is linked to a controversial cull of the red deer, the Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) has claimed.
The Wild Deer Association says that the body of an unborn fawn was found on St Patrick's Day near a public pathway in the park.
However, local staff in the park say they have not been made aware of the find.
According to the Wild Deer Association, which has pictures of a dead fawn, the offal was found on a pathway used by the public at Knockreer in the part of the park nearest the town on St Patrick’s Day.
It says that deer are being culled indiscriminately and the discovery of the red unborn deer is evidence of this. It is seeking a comprehensive deer management plan for the park.
While the association agrees that deer must be culled, it has criticised the approach saying it is too concentrated and the deer population is taking fright.
“As a deer management organisation we are not opposed to the culling of deer within best practice guidelines and to reduce impacts deer cause to the Parks wider ecosystem and adjoining farmland however the dumping of offal in public areas demonstrates a level of disrespect and mismanagement of our national heritage,” Damian Hannigan, the Association’s national secretary said.
“Such dumping is also illegal and can create a bio security risk for other wildlife species and the general public. We have raised a number of concerns with National Parks and Wildlife and the Minister regarding the ongoing cull and this discovery vindicates those concerns.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs said the cull, which began at the beginning of February, will continue until the end of March.
"The cull is conducted by trained wildlife staff and all carcasses have been, and will continue to be disposed of in accordance with Department of Agriculture guidelines and public health and safety requirements.
"All offal is collected, bagged and placed in sealed containers and sent to a rendering plant as standard."
Figures released by Minister Heather Humphreys recently, the red deer density over the entire a study of 13.64km2 in the park was some 708 deer.
Around 80 Killarney red deer deer are being taken out, as part of the cull, or just under 10pc of the estimated red deer population in the Killarney.