Killarney National Park Red deer cull backfires (viewer discretion advised)
A controversial cull of native Red deer in Killarney National Park has back fired following the grim discovery of severed deer heads by a member of the public at a National Parks and Wildlife Service facility in Killarney today. The severed heads discovered were those of six young female Red deer and a six month old calf.
The culling of healthy and young animals took place despite assurances by the Minister with responsibility, Heather Humphreys TD, in a response to Dáil questions regarding the proposed cull “that only old and infirm animals would be culled”… “the culling will be done by qualified and competent National Parks and Wildlife personnel and in the most responsible and ethical manner possible.”
The cull had been widely criticised by deer experts due to concerns over the lack of justification and the indiscriminate manner deer were to be culled. Red deer found in Co Kerry are our last remaining native deer herd and have continuously existed for over 6,000 years. The herd was fully protected in 2012 by the then Minister Jimmy Deenihan TD due to dangerously low numbers.
The culling of these young animals is of serious concern and vindicates concerns over the lack of qualification and competence to undertake such a cull. NPWS chose not to take any guidance or consultation before beginning the cull. A cull of such national importance requires detailed knowledge of the herd and identification of animals before culling is considered however today’s discovery demonstrates deer are merely being shot on sight and at night when healthy animals cannot be identified.
Our native Red deer are not owned by NPWS, politicians or Minister Humphreys, they are an important part of our heritage.