Red deer stag ireland

Rise in illegal killing and poaching of wild deer

October 2nd, 2019

The Irish Deer Commission (IDC) has launched a new campaign to raise the alarm on a rise in illegal killing and poaching of wild deer. 

The Keep Dear Poaching In Sight campaign, supported by the Department of Heritage, An Garda Síochána and several NGOs, aims to inform the public about a surge in illegal killing and poaching of the wild deer. 

Under the Irish Wildlife Acts, wild deer are a protected species, considered a part of the country’s natural heritage. However, the IDC has warned that “criminals are increasingly exploiting deer for financial gain”.

After drug importation, firearm and human trafficking, crimes against wildlife generate the most profit for criminals across Europe, according to the IDC. 

Gardaí receives around 500 reports of illegal poaching every year with IDC warning that the real number is really much higher as many incidents are not reported. 

“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 IDC’s spokesperson said

The IDC has urged “members of the public, hunters and those who live in the countryside” to report any suspected deer poaching to their local police stations or to conservation rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS).

“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,” the Commission continued. 

The IDC welcomed An Garda Síochána’s decision to appoint a liaison spectator specialised in detection and prosecution of wildlife crime in all 28 Garda divisions. 

Emma Higgs of Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland (WRI) told The Green News that “cooperation and intelligence sharing is vital” in thwarting crime against Ireland’s wildlife.

“We wholeheartedly welcome the introduction of dedicated Garda liaison Inspectors to police all types of wildlife crimes under the Wildlife Acts, and look forward to an increase in prosecutions as a result,” she said.

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