Conservation rangers are being recruited by the National Parks and Wildlife Service amid growing concern in Killarney about the country’s first National Park.
There are reportedly four rangers to cover the 25,000-acre park and its surrounding buffer zone, a fraction of staff numbers during pre-austerity years.
Maintenance staff has also been severely depleted and general wear-and-tear of amenities is starkly obvious.
As reported in the Irish Examiner, there are allegations the internationally-protected Killarney red deer are being targeted by rich tourist hunters who are acquiring permits to shoot them for sums as large as €5,000.
Night-time poaching of all deer is rife, however, according to at least one long-established hunting company.
John Mangan whose Killorglin company, established in the 1980s, organises Sika deer shooting said the legal hunting sector is highly regulated but he believes illegal night-time poaching is rife.
Speeding cyclists are causing havoc and there have been a number of medical emergencies.
Speed limits for bikes, as well as extra signs and more patrols are needed, a council meeting was told recently.
Local bike hire companies are being asked to ensure their customers ring their bells.
Dogs on leash signs are being openly ignored, and large dogs are left loose, despite warning signs.
The Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs has said “staffing across the department as a whole is subject to ongoing review through the workforce planning process to ensure appropriate and effective deployment of available resources in the light of emerging business needs and priorities”.
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