New project to address ‘unsustainably high deer populations’ in Wicklow

A new project is set to address the “unsustainably high deer populations” in Co. Wicklow, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed.

Today (Thursday, August 2), both the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, and the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaelteacht, Josepha Madigan, announced details of the project.

It was revealed that a contract had been signed with the Wicklow Uplands Council for the provision of deer management services in the Wicklow region.

The signing of the contract comes in the wake of a successful bid by the Wicklow Uplands Council, following a tender competition that took place earlier this year.

Set to run for three years, the jointly funded project has been designed to “enable rapid local level capacity building and cooperation in relation to long-term management of deer populations” in the county.

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture outlined that “unsustainable deer populations” have the potential to impact adversely on agriculture, conservation and forestry objectives – as well as road safety.

Issues related to high deer populations frequently arise in Co. Wicklow, and are increasingly of concern to a range of land managers and conservationists in the county, the department added.

‘Sustainable deer management’

Commenting on the project, Minister Madigan said: “I am very pleased to be working with Minister Doyle on this important project for the region; the sustainable management of deer in Co. Wicklow is a significant issue for both land owners and those concerned with animal welfare.”

Meanwhile, Minister Doyle explained that the objective of this project is “the management of locally occurring deer populations within three newly established deer management units located in the Wicklow region”.

The project will put sustainable deer management within the county on a more professional basis and promote knowledge transfer in the county.

During the three-year term of the contract, the Wicklow Uplands Council will follow the guiding principles set out in the joint report called ‘Deer Management in Ireland: A Framework for Action’.

Concluding, Minister Doyle said: “Wild deer should be managed in a sustainable manner, that is safe, humane, and ethically responsible – and that maximises the benefits of deer management to society.”

It is intended that this project will build on existing experience in the county and augment national level development in the area through the Irish Deer Management Forum and knowledge transfer measures.