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Irish Deer Commission Launches Deer Poaching Campaign

Campaign Targets the illegal Killing of Wild Deer. 

The Irish Deer Commission (IDC) supported by Government Agencies and key Stakeholder Groups have launched a campaign to help create awareness of the significant increase in Wildlife Crime in Ireland, focusing on the illegal killing of wild deer and Deer Poaching.

The campaign titled “Keep Deer Poaching in Sight” was developed by the Irish Deer Commission with the support of the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht, An Garda Síochána, Coillte Teo, National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), Countryside Alliance Ireland, British Deer Society and the Deer Alliance to increase awareness among the general public and in particular those who live in our rural communities or those who use our countryside for recreational activities such as walkers and hunters.

Wild deer are a protected species under our Wildlife Acts and an important part of our natural heritage however criminals are increasingly exploiting deer for financial gain, creating animal welfare issues and a risk to human health. After drug importation, firearms and human trafficking, wildlife crime generates the highest illegal income for criminals across Europe.

In the absence of a natural predator, deer as a species need to be managed to minimise their impact on farmland, forestry and the wider ecosystem, this is achieved via licensed deer hunters/wildlife managers carrying out an important role in keeping deer numbers at sustainable levels with regard for animal welfare, livestock and those living in rural communities.

A spokesperson for the IDC stated

“We would encourage members of the public, hunters and those who live in the countryside to report suspected deer poaching activity to their local Garda Station and/or to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Conservation Ranger.

The use of powerful lamps to confuse wild deer where they are then shot or set upon by dogs and bludgeoned to death, or increasingly the use of night vision equipment, coursing deer with dogs, and armed trespass are just some of the illegal activities we see.”

The spokesperson also stated

“the illegal killing of wild deer puts the management and conservation of wild deer at risk, along with livestock and rural communities at risk of harm or serious injury.”

In a further positive development An Garda Síochána have appointed liaison Inspectors in all 28 Garda Divisions who will specialise in the detection and prosecution of wildlife crime under the Wildlife Acts.