- Habitat: Deciduous or coniferous forests, preferably with a diverse understorey. Also found in scrub and over-grown gardens in urban areas.
- Description: Small, stocky, russet brown in summer, grey brown in winter. Long pedicles, short antlers and visible upper canines in bucks. Very large facial glands below the eyes. Ginger forehead with pronounced black lines running to the pedicles in bucks, dark U shape in does. Haunches higher than withers, giving a hunched appearance. Fairly wide tail, which is held erect when disturbed. Adult size. Bucks (males): 10 to 18kg, 44 to 52cm at shoulder. Does (females): 9 to 16kg, 43 to 52cm at shoulder. Antlers. Short (up to 10cm) but on long pedicles. Usually unbranched but brow tine occasionally found in old bucks. (British Deer Society)
- Origin and Distribution: Originally from china, the muntjac deer was deliberately introduced to England in the early 20th Century. It is now widespread in England and Wales.
- Impacts: Muntjac deer destroy the understory of forests by overgrazing; propagate other non-native species such as Rhododendron; act as a reservoir for diseases (bovine TB) and parasites for domestic livestock; strip bark from trees and trampling of vegetation which in turn may lead to increased soil erosion.
- Where is it found in Ireland? Muntjac have been reported at a number of locations in both jurisdictions but as yet their actual distribution is unknown.
- How did it get Here? Importing these species is the only viable pathway of introduction. Therefore, the main pathways into Ireland will be through the main ports of entry (by sea or by air). Importation of this species maybe allowed under licence but illegal smuggling is also a very real possibility.
- Prevent Spread These animals tend to be very mobile so are capable of moving freely throughout the country side. However, long distance movement by individuals remains a possibility. This activity is currently prohibited in both jurisdictions and therefore an individual undertaking movement of deer species is committing an offence.Do not introduce muntjac. Report all sightings
Current Legislative Position (Listed on 03 August 2016)
This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment.
For further queries, you can contact the Non Native Invasive Species Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558.