Aerial photography showing the damage that rabbits are causing to wildlife and habitat in Derrynane National Historic Park has been released by the OPW.
The Office of Public Works, which is responsible for the park, says there will be a rabbit cull to deal with overpopulation.
The OPW says the rabbit population has exploded in recent years at Derrynane causing extensive damage to dune grasslands which fall within two EU protected habitat designations – the Kenmare River Special Area of Conservation and the Iveragh Peninsula Special Protection Area.
This has resulted in large areas of bare sand that are subject to erosion.
Rabbit overgrazing also poses a threat to protected whorl snails, natterjack toads and choughs, according to the OPW.
The OPW has commissioned a dune grassland survey, following the completion of a biodiversity audit of Derryane.
Survey fieldwork has been completed and the OPW is awaiting the final report.
Ecologists have indicated that rabbit control will be one of their main recommendations.
The Office of Public Works says it’s intended that the control of the population will take place during the winter, and that control methods will include the use of humane traps.
The OPW has released a photo showing the damage caused by rabbits at Derrynane and says up until recent years, bare sand was not visible at these locations.