Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
National Parks and Wildlife Service
146. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government when the National Parks and Wildlife Service will produce proposals for deer management in relation to land it has responsibility for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17824/21]
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of my Department is committed to the active management of the deer species within State owned National Parks and Nature Reserves and, as part of its regular on-going management operations, NPWS carry out regular surveys, censuses and reports on deer in our sites. Where appropriate, and depending on the annual count and instances of damage caused by deer to habitats, especially woodland, culls may need to be carried out to ensure that deer populations do not reach levels that would have negative ecological consequences.
However, it should be noted that while the NPWS does licence hunting of deer, my Department does not own the deer population and is not responsible for the management of deer populations generally. Deer, albeit larger, are like other wild animals in this country and it is not part of the remit of my Department, nor indeed would it be generally possible, to cordon them onto specific areas of land. In the case of deer on private property, management is a matter for the relevant landowner.
With regard to the management of deer within State owned National Parks and Nature Reserves, culling is a regular and on-going management operation and is undertaken periodically when resources, weather and timing allows. This allows my Department work towards sustainable herd management, and as such there is and will continue to be, a need to remove a certain percentage of animals from the herd encompassing both age and gender on an on-going basis.