MOD to cull rabbits to protect Magilligan sand dunes
RABBITS are to be culled at Magilligan to protect important sand dunes in the area.
The Ministry of Defence, which owns shooting ranges in the area close to the mouth of Lough Foyle, has also brought in cattle and sheep to ensure the dunes are protected from destruction.
One of the main limestone dune systems in Ireland, Magilligan is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts. The area is also home to one of Northern Ireland's main prisons while the Lough Foyle ferry sails between Magilligan and Greencastle in Donegal during summer months.
However, a growth in the rabbit popular threatens to upset the balance required to maintain the grassy dunes.
While grass areas around the dunes need to be grazed to be kept in check, rabbits can overgraze the area, causing long-term damage. Periodic rabbit culling is an accepted means of control.
An MoD spokesman said licensed and insured pest control agents would be used for the cull.
The spokesman said: “As part of the ongoing process of conservation and the MoD’s stewardship of the dunes within the Magilligan ranges, the rabbit population is controlled through humane culling.”