The National Parks and Wildlife Service is to carry out a cull of lowland deer, in and around Killarney, amid an outcry about an increase in the number of deer and collisions with motorists.
However, the NPWS has rejected calls to fence off sections of KillarneyNational Park to prevent collisions with motorists.
The cull, in November, will include lowland Red deer, the unique species native to Kerry, as well as the smaller Sika, introduced here in the 19th century.
The cull will begin as soon as the rut or mating season finishes, a spokesman said.
Numbers of deer have increased, said the NPWS, but it was unable to confirm exact numbers, admitting it did not have resources to count them.
The coroner for Kerry South, Terence Casey, had called for sections of the park, particularly where NPWS woodland borders the edge of busy roadways such as the N72 near Killarney, to be fenced off.
Swerving to avoid deer has been linked to collisions with trees and with the animals. An inquest last year heard how there had been several accidents with deer and a number of fatal crash investigations had noted traces of deer on vehicles.
Councillors in Kerry claimed recently the deer are simply “out of control, and collisions with cars are numerous”. It was claimed the public was not bothering to report collisions. A crossing for deer south of the park near Kilgarvan has also been sought by councillors.
The NPWS has rejected fencing off sections of the park. It said the presence of deer was not confined to the park and fencing off 10,000 hectares would “serve no practical purpose” and be “an enormous task”.
A spokesperson also said: “Sika deer are capable of going under fencing 8in off the ground while Red deer are capable of knocking fences preventing them from reaching traditional feeding and shelter grounds.”
Amid speculation that deer numbers, particularly Sika, have hugely increased, the NPWS said it simply did not have the resources to carry out a deer census.
It denied the deer are out of control in Kerry and said even if it was to take action, there were “many deer outside the park boundaries capable of running into the path of motorists”.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved