Starving deer shot after others were found starved to death
A number of severely emaciated Sika deer on Inisfallen Island, the monastic island in the heart of the Killarney National Park, have had to be culled, after deer were found to have starved to death on the island last week.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has confirmed that 27 deer were shot in the cull carried out by rangers on the 21-acre island, after the discovery of four dead Sika on the island. Around 15 remain.
It has said balancing the needs of deer and ecology is 'challenging'.
The island is where Brian Boru studied and its annals, chronicle of the south west, composed in the 11 century are in the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
Sika deer, which arrived on the island a decade ago, were allowed to breed in large numbers, but according to local reports, bark on the island’s trees has been completely stripped and almost every inch of ground is bare.
Local councillor John Joe Culloty, who is a member of the national park liaison committee, said the the whole ecology has been destroyed in the island, which is around one mile off Ross Castle, and is much visited during the summer months.
Mr Culloty uncovered the dire situation last week after finding the deceased animals. "The numbers of the deer have gone out of control in the National Park and the numbers have spread out onto private land."
He said the whole ecology of Inisfallen has been destroyed by deer. He wants all deer taken off the historic island and says overall management issues of the park badly need to be addressed.