Bray People - - NEWS -

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.

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