Number of red deer in Killarney National Park identified as having copper deficiency

Image by Christopher Browne.

Tests identify that a number of red deer in Killarney National Park have a copper deficiency.

In October, some deer were seen struggling to walk and had deformities on their antlers.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service has been observing behaviours in up to eight deer in Killarney; tests were also carried out on the animals to determine the cause of these symptoms.

In October, the Irish Deer Commission expressed concern that the deer had symptoms consistent with Perennial Ryegrass Staggers.

Several deer were sent for tests at the Regional Veterinary Laboratory.

The results confirmed the animals were afflicted by enzootic ataxia, which is a condition that can be brought on by copper deficiency.

The NPWS says this is a natural occurring phenomenon that happens where the animals in question fails to get the necessary trace elements (copper) from their food sources.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht says a small number of animals have been identified as having this deficiency in Killarney National Park.

It’s their intention to carry out further testing, in conjunction with the Regional Veterinary Laboratory, to determine the extent of the issue.