The slaughter of eight deer near Ards Friary has shocked the wider community with fears that the meat from the carcasses is making its way illegally into the food chain.
Gardai were called to Ards on Saturday by a local man, Neil Gallagher after he noted a man with a gun in a location near the Friary where shooting of deer is prohibited.
Later a deer was found shot dead in the field.
It is understood that a total of eight carcasses were later removed from the scene by wildlife rangers and brought to Glenveagh.
Mr. Gallagher said it was a scene of carnage and the deer population locally has all but been wiped out by gangs of poachers roaming and killing the animals at will.
Neil Gallagher told the Tirconail Tribune that he understands that Gardai have interviewed one man who is not from the locality.
He says the community is keeping a watch on at least seven gangs who are coming into the Ards area.
“I believe these gangs are making around €250 per carcass selling the meat into the food chain without any monitoring or health checks for animal’s status. It is very sad that there are so many gangs roaming the countryside killing off the deer population and their only motivation is profit,” said Mr. Gallagher.
He pointed out that only a certain type of gun can be legally licensed for culling deer and there is much local suspicion that the poachers are also breaking the law in this regard.
“The illegal deer trade is thriving and that is why so many gangs are out there and prepared to take a risk they will not be apprehended. There have been many reported cases of deer escaping with gunshot wounds and left to die a very painful death,” he said.
Mr.Gallagher has appealed to the public with any information on those involved to contact the Gardai urgently.Tags: