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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 22 April, 2019
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34 deer killed as part of regular cull at Phoenix Park

Culls are aimed at managing the Phoenix Park deer population which numbers close to 500.

Phoenix Park deer cull The deer cull at the Phoenix Park today. Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

34 DEER HAVE been culled at the Phoenix Park in Dublin today as part of efforts to manage the presence of the prevalent wild animal. 

Culls at one Europe’s largest enclosed parks are aimed at managing the population of deer, a species which the Office of Public Works has said poses a risk to the park’s biodiversity if allowed to over-breed. 

The carcasses of the 34 deer culled today were purchased by a Department of Agriculture-approved game dealer.

Phoenix Park deer cull Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

While the role of wild fallow deer - which number close to 500 at the Phoenix Park – should be recognised from a biodiversity perspective, “this must be balanced with an equal recognition of the potential for deer to impact” on Phoenix Park conservation habitats and their dependent species, an OPW spokesperson said today.

“Sustainable deer management must rely on sound, practical and applied scientific research, and any deer management policy must be cognisant of its application to practical deer management on the ground.”

An over-abundant deer population can result in an increasing incidence of road traffic accidents and increase the potential role of deer in the epidemiology of specific diseases.

There are an estimated 14 million car journeys through the park annually.  

Phoenix Park deer cull Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

Carried out in consultation with the School of Biology & Environmental Science at University College Dublin as well as a vet expert in deer welfare, park rangers use best practice and detailed protocol, the OPW has said. 

During the annual mating – or rutting – season in October at the Phoenix Park, rangers collect antlers shed by the deer. These are then given to schools and colleges for educational purposes. 

Following mating season, fawns are born in June. In the past, the OPW has warned against members of the public feeding the Phoenix Park deer and has cautioned against people getting too close to them, as some have done in an attempt to take selfies with the wild animals. 

The deer were first introduced to the park in 1662 by the Duke of Ormond, William Butler. The area was subsequently set up as a Royal hunting park. 

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