Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now

Concern over plan to kill deer blamed for Killarney car accidents

The red deer, unique to Kerry, is one of two species due to be targeted in next month’s cull.

Image: Shutterstock/Matt Gibson

A NATIONAL CONSERVATION group has questioned plans to cull deer in Killarney National Park.

The National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) confirmed today that it intends to kill old and infirm deer to keep numbers in the park under control.

The move follows complaints over the growing number of deer said to be involved in fatal car crashes in Killarney.

Next month’s cull will target lowland red deer, a species unique to Kerry, as well as Sika deer, a non-native species, a spokersperson told

The spokesperson said it is not within the capacity or remit of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht – which licences hunting of Ireland’s deer population – to either cordon deer into specific areas of land or erect a fence around the park, as some local councillors had proposed.


But the plan is a cause of concern for the Wild Deer Association (WDA), which says a cull should only be undertaken following the completion of a census of deer population – something the NPWS claims it lacks the resources to do.

“Red deer have existed in Killarney for over 6,000 years and are widely regarded to be of international importance as a unique subspecies of red deer,” said deer manager Damien Hannigan of the WDA.

Hannigan told that other measures to reduce road crash numbers – including road signage and fencing – should be considered along with cull targets.

“Driver behaviour is also believed to be a significant factor in the cause of road traffic accidents involving deer,” he added.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

Hannigan said that he believes illegal poaching has reduced the number of red deer in Killarney to “a dangerously low level” in recent years and that he fears an indiscriminate cull could endanger the species’ genetic purity.

However, a spokesperson for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said that the overall objective of the cull will be to “retain the maximum numbers of mature, middle-aged animals within the population”.

The red deer population in Killarney is of “national conservation significance”, the spokesperson added.

Read: Check out these amazing photos of the wildlife thriving in Chernobyl’s fallout zone

Read: Shock as ‘masked man with baton’ robs charity vet clinic

About the author:

Catherine Healy

Read next: