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File photo of deer in Phoenix Park Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie
OPW

34 deer killed in Phoenix Park as part of 'managed cull' this week

The animals – 22 females and 12 males – were culled on Tuesday.

THIRTY-FOUR DEER were culled in Phoenix Park in Dublin as part of a managed cull this week.

The animals – 22 females and 12 males – were culled on Tuesday, the Office of Public Works (OPW) confirmed.

Managed culls, which are overseen by a qualified vet, take place in the park a number of times every year to keep the deer population under control.

There are hundreds of wild fallow deer in Phoenix Park and the OPW said a failure to control the population of the animal, which has no natural predator in Ireland, would have a detrimental impact on the overall herd and the surrounding environment.

When asked about the cull this week, a spokesperson for the OPW told The Journal: “The deer population in the park is actively managed to keep the herd at a sustainable size. If animals were not removed, food would become scarce and more animals would ultimately suffer.

“Without population control, there would be other welfare issues such as low body fat, malnutrition and high incidence of death from exposure to cold in winter. Attempting to maintain too many deer within a restricted park area would soon lead to a build-up of parasites and other pathogens causing disease in the deer.”

October and November mark rutting season when mating activity reaches its peak. The cull around this time of year is used to mitigate population growth in the following months.

The carcasses of the culled deer are typically sold to game dealers.

A number of animal rights groups have raised concerns about the practice over the years, saying that other methods of population control could be introduced such as using contraception or moving the animals to bigger areas.

The OPW previously said there are no contraceptives licensed for use in free-living deer in Ireland. A spokesperson said the Irish Deer Society and similar associations in the UK “fully endorse humane culling as best practice in deer herd management”.

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