FOUR DEER SHOT AND DUMPED
Four Sika deer were shot and their carcasses dumped by poachers on Christmas day in Wicklow National Park.
Two stags were discovered partially hidden in the Sally Gap, while the bodies of a hind and its calf were also found nearby at a different location.
The dead animals were reported to the Wild Deer Association of Ireland after the grizzly discovery of the four bodies on Sunday morning. Gardaí in Roundwood are also investigating the matter.
Damien Hannigan of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland says there is no doubt that the animals were killed by heartless poachers.
‘We estimate they were probably shot on Christmas day or Christmas night. The carcasses were found on Sunday and were about three or four days old. This was definitely poaching as the hunting of deer in a national park is illegal. Poachers use lights to dazzle the deer and then shoot them dead. The bodies are then often hidden and collected the following day or night. In some cases, poachers are killing so many deer on one night they don’t have enough room to transport all the carcasses so some of the bodies are left behind to collect later. We also know of cases where the poachers have just left the bodies behind to rot.’ A deer carcass would generally fetch between €60 and €70 each. Mr Hannigan says the illegal poaching of deer in Wicklow has become a major problem, though he praises the efforts of the gardaí and initiatives such as Operation Bambi.
‘Poaching in Ireland is probably most common in the Wicklow, Carlow and Kildare boarder areas but Wicklow is where the greatest amount of poaching takes place.
‘ This type of crime has caused outrage amongst the hunting and rural community and we would urge hunters and the general public to contact your local garda station, National Park Ranger or us in confidence if you have any information.’
(Above and below) Some of the deer found dead in Wicklow National Park.