Deer of Ireland

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There are three species of deer living wild in Ireland today, namely Red Deer, Fallow Deer, and the Sika Deer.[1] The Red Deer, once thought to have been a native species, which had come to Ireland at the end of the last ice age, are now believed to have been introduced from Britain across the North Channel during the neolithic period, around 3300 BC. They almost became extinct in the 20th century, with only around 60 left, but have now made a comeback to approximately one thousand.[2] Fallow deer were introduced in Norman times, 1169 AD, and now have a population of about 10,000. Sika deer were introduced in Powerscourt park in 1860, escaped from captivity, and now number about 20,000. A recent introduction, Reeves's Muntjac, is becoming established.

The Irish Elk became extinct in Ireland about 10,500 years ago, many of their skeletal remains have been found well preserved in peat land.

Native Deer species[edit]

Introduced Species[edit]



  1. ^ Wild Deer Association of Ireland
  2. ^ "Kerry red deer ancestry traced to population introduced to Ireland by ancient peoples over 5,000 years ago". Retrieved 6 November 2012. 

Valuable reading[edit]

Butler, F. and Keelleher, C., (eds) 2012. All-Ireland Mammal Symposium 2009. Irish Naturalists' Journal, Belfast, 90pp