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Saturday 10 December 2016

Kerry deer may get new home in the capital

Wildlife

Deer gather in Dublin's Phoenix Park. (Photo: Steve Humphreys)
Deer gather in Dublin's Phoenix Park. (Photo: Steve Humphreys)

RED deer from Kerry could be about to find a new home in Dublin - but only if they can get along with existing residents. Officials will investigate the possibility of relocating deer from the national park in Killarney to the Phoenix Park.

There have been a number of serious traffic accidents in the Kerry town in recent times as red and sika deer become "highly visible".

The National Parks and Wildlife Services are due to carry out a cull to reduce the size of the herd later this month, but it has now been proposed that some of the deer could be moved to the capital instead.

Heritage Minister Heather Humphries is to ask her officials if this would be possible as "the subject of culling is emotive".

She was responding to concerns from Fianna Fáil TD Sean Ó Fearghail, who suggested that the Killarney cull should target the non-indigenous sika deer rather than the red deer.

"We need to consider the history of the red deer, which stretches back nearly 10,000 years before Christ to the Ice Age.

"As the only native and indigenous deer, there is an understandable public reaction to the possibility of some red deer being culled," he said.

Mr Ó Fearghail said that it has "always struck me as particular sad" when visiting the Phoenix Park that the deer living there are not native to Ireland.

Minister Heather Humphries
Minister Heather Humphries

"What would prevent the Department from relocating red deer from Killarney and, in so doing, hopefully improve the health status of the deer," he asked.

Fallow deer in the Phoenix Park have been in-situ since the 17th century.

Ms Humphries said that she would raise the idea of moving deer from Kerry to Dublin with her officials.

Wild Deer roaming in Phoenix Park
Wild Deer roaming in Phoenix Park

"I do not know if relocation is possible and if or how red deer would integrate with the herd in another location. I will consider the issue, however," she told the Dáil.

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barret joked, "I wonder if Kerry deer would get on with Dublin deer."

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