Thursday, 22 December 2011

Concern at poaching of Kerry red deer

ANNE LUCEY


UK DEMAND for venison and a steep rise in price for the meat has contributed to poaching in Co Kerry, according to a senior conservation ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Dr Tim Burkitt, a member of the inter-agency deer policy group drawing up a framework for sustainable wild deer management, has also called for a more positive attitude towards the unique Killarney red deer, which he said were a wonderful resource for tourism and for the education of young people.

The comments follow concerns by public representatives in Co Kerry over poaching. However, landowners outside Killarney National Park say they are being “tormented” by the red deer.

Following the continuous poaching of red deer and the non-native sika deer in Co Kerry, Fianna Fáil councillor John Joe Cullotty has called for more National Parks and Wildlife Service staff to be redeployed.

Two county councillors, father and son Danny Healy-Rae and Johnny Healy-Rae, have called for a deer census in the county and for more culls.

“Deer stags are causing destruction and torment to landowners in many parts of the county,” the councillors have said.

According to a draft deer management study published recently by a policy group including the National Parks and Wildlife Service and forestry group Coillte, deer populations of all species in Ireland have expanded in recent times.

However, Dr Burkitt said there was no deer census in Co Kerry.

He claimed that strained resources as well as the multitude of landowners outside the national park were factors that made carrying out a census difficult at present.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1221/1224309340883.html

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