Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 25th, 2009
The country of Northern Ireland has gone on a national “Muntjac Alert.” No, it’s not some band of terrorists who have invaded the country, but a bunch of wee hoofed animals that have been declared a menace.
The sight of a small deer making its way through a Northern Ireland forest may conjure up childhood memories of Bambi.
However, according to the Environment Agency, the Muntjac deer is an invader to our shores which poses a potential threat to natural habitat and species.
It was revealed on Monday that there has been the first confirmed sighting of the deer in the wild in Northern Ireland.
A young male was spotted in County Down in June 2009. It was knocked down by a car in the Carrowdore area.
The agency believes Muntjac, which are originally from China, are such a menace it has asked for anyone who spots them to report it immediately.
According to the agency’s exclusion strategy and action plan for Muntjac deer, the recommended course of action is to eradicate them.
An agency statement said: “A Muntjac Deer Action Plan was prepared by NIEA some years ago which identifies a number of actions to be initiated if a wild population is discovered. This plan has now been activated in an attempt to halt the spread of the species.”
The agency has also said anyone who releases or allows the deer to escape into Northern Ireland faces prosecution under the the Wildlife Order (NI) 1985.
In addition to the County Down sighting there have also been several confirmed sightings of Muntjac in County Wicklow and more unconfirmed reports from several locations across Northern Ireland.
The Muntjac has become naturalised in England and Wales and is Britain’s smallest deer.
Unlike most deer, the Muntjac doesn’t live in herds, but is solitary or found in pairs.
According to the British Deer Society, Muntjac were brought from China to a park in Bedfordshire in the early 20th century.
They spread across the country after they escaped, or were deliberately released, from the park.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.