Animal activists in Co. Kerry have expressed outrage after the discovery of the headless carcasses of six endangered Irish red deer.
The remains of the six deer were discovered over a three week period last month, within close proximity to one another in the Rossacroo area. Authorities believe the animals were killed for the possible sale of the deer heads as trophy-wall ornaments.
“The most recent deer carcass was again found with the head removed, but this time it was also found close to the other killings,” Damien Hannigan, secretary of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) told the Irish Examiner.
“There have been similar killings of this kind over the years, but these recent incidents happening over such a short time-period do indicate that this kind of activity is certainly on the increase,” Hannigan added.
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Red deer are the only species of deer native to Ireland. Due to hunting and deforestation, the rare breed of Irish deer has become endangered in recent decades.
“What is particularly worrying about this is the Red Deer is a unique and endangered species dating its existence right back to the Ice Age.”
“Local people are appalled at this kind of criminal activity right on their doorstep, and particularly as the red stag in Kerry is seen as an emblem of the National Park and a very important tourist draw in itself.”
The WDAI has encouraged the public to stay vigilant.