Stag at centre of attack on woman in Co Kerry lost fear of humans, locals believe

ireland
Stag At Centre Of Attack On Woman In Co Kerry Lost Fear Of Humans, Locals Believe Stag At Centre Of Attack On Woman In Co Kerry Lost Fear Of Humans, Locals Believe
Locals in Glencar described the red stag as “a magnificent looking animal”. Photo: File image
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Anne Lucey

The red stag at the centre of the attack on a middle-aged woman in Glencar in Co Kerry had lost its fear of humans, locals believe.

There have been calls for serious culls – however the leading deer management body has said there is already deer management and have cautioned against linking what they said was a rare attack to population increase.

The Glencar stag, described as "a magnificent animal" had become a familiar figure in the area. For much of the winter he was around Lough Acoose Lake but had moved closer to houses, in the Glencuttane area, not far from Killorglin, most likely in search of food.

Sources suggest he was being regularly fed, and was often found in and around residences as well as on the road.

A local woman remained in hospital where she had been airlifted over the weekend after an attack by the animal not far from her home, which left her with injuries to her chest and ribs.

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Locals in Glencar described the red stag as “a magnificent looking animal”.

The stag had antlers with up to six-points and may have weighed up to 180 kg.  He was put down by a licensed hunter shortly after the attack on Saturday afternoon.

The unique red deer is Ireland’s largest mammal. It is associated with the Killarney National Park, and having been almost extinct just fifty years ago, are now found outside the park and throughout south Kerry.

However, red deer are far less common around Glencar which has a large population of the smaller non-native Sika deer.

'Serious cull'

There have been calls for culls in the wake of the attack with local TD Michael Healy-Rae leading the calls.

The TD's car, and those of his family and neighbours, have been damaged in collisions with deer over the past 12 months, he has revealed.

The TD says culls up to now have been “tokenism”.

“We need a serious cull. I am talking about 70 per cent of both deer species,” he said.

However, the Irish Deer Commission (IDC) have warned there is no deer census in any county and nobody knows if the deer population are in fact on the increase, or decreasing.

“Based on National Park and Wildlife Service data over 8,000 wild deer have been culled in Kerry over the last five years, so there is already significant deer management taking place,” Spokesman Damien Hannigan said.

However, local areas where high deer densities occur should be supported when required to protect the various land uses, he added.

The IDC have warned the public to keep a minimum distance from wild deer of 50 meters and under no circumstances to feed them.

Deer lose their fear of humans when fed, Mr Hannigan said.

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