Studies show feeding Phoenix Park deer could lead to aggressive behaviour

By Katy Thornton

August 5, 2022 at 2:31pm


Visitors of the park are being discouraged from feeding the wildlife there.


Tempting as it may be to feed the deer in Phoenix Park, new research shows that this has the potential to spark aggressive behaviour in them. A study was done of the fallow deer in the Dublin 8 park, being the largest walled park in Europe.

According to The Journal, UCD researchers "observed the deer from the start of May to the end of July in 2018 and 2019, a period when nutrition intake is important as the males are regrowing antlers and females are nursing offspring."

They studied 134 fawns over this period, discovering that those with mothers begging for food were considerably heavier than those who didn't. Lead author and researcher with the UCD Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology and Behaviour, Laura Griffith, said the begging trait could lead to aggressive behaviour. The concern is that over time, deer will begin to harass humans for food, which poses a risk for both the deer and the humans involved.


It's important to note feeding the deer in Phoenix Park is already prohibited. Next time you stop by Phoenix Park, avoid feeding any deer you see, tempting as it may be.

Header image via Shutterstock

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