Rare Kerry cattle under threat from dog foul bags
People walking dogs are throwing plastic dog foul bags into fields where the rare Kerry cow, Ireland's oldest and rarest breed of cattle grazes, the council in Killarney has been told.
The black Kerry cow, is one of the oldest breeds in Europe and descended from the 4,000 year old Celtic shorthorn.
It is native to Kerry and has been kept from extinction in recent years by the State on its lands at Farmleigh and Muckross, and also largely by the efforts of third generation Killarney farmer Ms Raymonde Hilliard at on her lands at the Cahernane.
There they graze alongside the uninvited Killarney red deer, the country's oldest mammal, and the shiny small black cow is a tourist attraction for walkers from the town.
A council meeting has been told the rare breed (there are only around 900 left among less than 100 herds) is now being put at further risk by pet owners discarding their rubbish and the unsuspecting cattle are injesting the plastic directly and through the silage made from the grass.
There has been a rise in dog numbers and the walking route between the Cahernane and Lake Hotels is one of the most popular dog paths in the town.
John Joe Culloty, a member of the Killarney National Park liaison committee and a councillor said people are discarding their dog foul bags over the wall “and the cattle are eating it”
The landowner had very little support in the past from the national parks and wildlife service – with deer eating the grass .