The deer population in South Kerry has increased to the point where it is “out of control”, threatening motorists, farmlands, and woodland, a county council meeting has been told.
A deer strategy was “urgently needed” to tackle the deer population and the dangers they cause, said Fine Gael councillor Patrick Connor-Scarteen.
It was his second such motion yet nothing had been done by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), which is in charge of deer, in the four years since he had first called for controls, he claimed.
Sika, imported Japanese deer which roam South Kerry alongside the native red deer, were a particular nuisance and were found now on the Beara Peninsula , Kilgarvan, and Moll’s Gap.
The N71 Ring of Kerry was dangerous for motorists, the meeting was told, with gardaí called out to accidents involving deer “at least once a week”.
“I first raised this in March 2011 and it seems to be getting worse and worse,” Mr Connor-Scarteen said.
He was supported by Independent councillor Brendan Cronin, who said: “It’s critically serious for motorists. The damage to cars is not being reported.
“There was a clause in the Bourne Vincent Memorial Act [the 1932 Act which governs much of the Killarney National Park] that fences should be maintained, and protected but it is not being done.”
Were his animals to wander on the road, he would be held responsible, “but there’s no care being shown by these people,” Mr Cronin said.
“Bring these boys in here to account for themselves.”
Representatives from the NPWS are to be invited to the council meeting to explain the increase in deer and the lack of fencing along main roads such as the N71.
Gardaí in Killarney said they are called out to accidents involving deer in the area “at least once a week”.
The incidents between motorists and deer occur all year round, not just in the current rutting season, said gardaí.
A coroner has previously called for fencing of the park after an inquest into death of a motorist heard how the driver had possibly been avoiding a deer.
At least two other deaths on the N71/N72 have also been linked to deer.
The Wild Deer Association of Ireland, part of a forum set up by Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys in March to draw up a management strategy for deer in Ireland, estimate the numbers within the 10,000-hectare Killarney National Park at around 1,000, with a further 1,000 deer estimated throughout South Kerry.
The group had previously called for a cull as high deer densities are threatening native woodland regeneration.
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