Wednesday 20 March 2019

Uplands council signs up to manage wild deer

Deborah Coleman

Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, have signed a contract with Wicklow Uplands Council for the provision of deer management services in the Wicklow region.

The signing of the contract follows a successful bid by the council in a tender competition that took place earlier this year.

This jointly-funded project will run for three years and is designed to enable rapid local level capacity building and co-operation in relation to long-term management of deer populations in Co Wicklow.

Unsustainable deer populations have the potential to impact adversely on agriculture, conservation and forestry objectives, as well as road safety and, in recent years, there has been many issues raised to this effect by land managers and conservationsists.

'I am very pleased to be working with Minister Doyle on this important project for the region, the sustainable management of deer in County Wicklow is a significant issue for both land owners and those concerned with animal welfare,' said Minister Madigan.

According to Minister Doyle, the project will see a professional approach being taken towards deer management in the county.

'The objective of this project is the management of locally occurring deer populations within three newly established deer management units located in the Wicklow region. The project will put sustainable deer management within the county on a more professional basis and promote knowledge transfer in the county, as well as mainstreaming of the project and sharing of knowledge where required outside Co Wicklow,' he said.

Unsustainably high deer populations have been an issue in County Wicklow for several years impacting on forestry, conservation and agricultural objectives in the county, as well as being a deer welfare issue in their own right.

The guiding principles set out in the joint report called 'Deer Management in Ireland, A Framework for Action' will be followed by the Wicklow Uplands Council during the three-year term of the contract.

The management of wild deer must take place within appropriate management, regulatory and spatial structures that reflect deer ranging behaviour and habitat scales, and the dynamic nature of modern land use practice and land use objectives.

Minister Doyle said that 'wild deer should be managed in a sustainable manner, that is safe, humane, and ethically responsible, and that maximises the benefits of deer management to society'.

This project will build on existing experience in the county, and will augment national level development in the area through the Irish Deer Management Forum and knowledge transfer measures.

Wicklow People