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Wildlife Conservation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 20 May 2021

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Questions (248)

Bernard Durkan


248. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the full extent of the numbers of deer here including each separate breed; the most likely location or habitat; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27394/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

There are three species of deer recorded as occurring in Ireland; these are red deer, fallow deer and sika deer. A fourth species, muntjac deer, has been reported from the wild on a number of occasions, but my Department does not have evidence that this invasive species of deer has established itself in the wild in Ireland.

No national census of deer populations has been carried out to date. However, my Department carries out localised annual deer counts on State lands such as National Parks and the indications are that all three deer species are increasing in range and numbers.

Although not a direct measure of deer population size, the licence returns from deer hunters also provide some indication of wild deer numbers. The number of deer reported shot during the hunting season rose steadily from c10,000 in 2000 to over 30,000 in 2010 and this figure has increased again in recent seasons, reaching 40,000 for the first time in the 2017/2018 season.