Muntiacus reevesi | Chinese Muntjac
Third Schedule listed species under Regulations 49 & 50 in the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011. (Note: Regulation 50 not yet enacted).
Regulated invasive species of Union concern under the European Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species [1143/2014].
First reported in the wild
Invasive species - risk of High Impact
Introduction pathways - 1
Release in Nature
Introduction pathways subclass - 1
NAPRA Ireland risk assessed
Yes. This species underwent a Non-native species APplication based Risk Analysis in 2014.
Overall risk of this species to Ireland is categorised as: MODERATE with a MEDIUM level of confidence.
Overall conclusion summary: The likelihood of entry into Ireland is high as introductions have already taken place. It is possible, that further introductions from Britain or translocations from existing populations within Ireland will take place.
Establishment is likely in Ireland due to the adaptability of the species, similarity of suitable habitats in Ireland for the species establishment and similarity of climate to Britain where the muntjac has already been successfully introduced.
If breeding populations establish in Ireland then we can expect the rate of spread of this species to be similar to that recorded in Britain i.e. 1-2.4 km per year. The species is likely to be introduced and/or encounter suitable habitat giving it the potential to spread.
The potential impact would be greatest in deciduous, mixed and
coniferous forestry sector and may, when established at high densities,
negatively affect plant and invertebrate communities within this habitat in
Ireland. Muntjac may be vectors of disease which pose significant risks
and threats to the agricultural sector i.e. ruminant industry. They may be
pests of horticultural fruit production e.g. raspberries. The impact via
road traffic collisions is to be considered as likely in areas where they
establish in high densities.
View the full risk assessment: http://nonnativespecies.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Muntiacus-reevesi-Muntjac-Deer.pdf
Small reddish-brown deer. Black frontal stripes across the face with conspicuous white underside to tail. Tail held vertically and prominent when alarmed (Chapman, 2008). Short antlers and upper canines protrude from the mouth in males. (Chapman, 2008).
Muntjac effect a number of woodland species and impact on the abundance and distribution of a range of common and rare species (e.g. hazel, field maple , bramble, primrose, blue bell, early purple orchid and ash), allowing grass and sedge species to increase (Cooke & Farrell, 2001).
Woodland, forest and other wooded land
Breed throughout the year, single fawn born any month during the year, gestation 201 days with a roughly 1:1 sex ratio at birth (Chapman, 2008).
Pathway and vector description
There is no natural route for Muntjac to enter Ireland, so they have been intentionally brought to Ireland, most likely from the UK where they have been present since the early 19th century (Lever, 2009). They have either been deliberately released into the wild or have escaped from private collections. Once present and established they would be expected to expand their range at a similar pace to that seen in England (1km per year) (Chapman et al., 1994), though that spread may be facilitated by secondary introductions and translocations within Ireland.
Mechanism of impact
The general public should be made aware of how to identify this species and the damage it can cause. This can increase the likelihood of success of an eradication programme (Stokes & O'Neill et al., 2004).
Woodland and crops at risk can be fenced using mesh wire fencing of minimum 1.5m height (Mayle, 1999). Vulnerable trees can be protected using tree guards or shelters of at least 1.2m height (Mayle, 1999). However, these will give no protection to ground flora and shrubs.
There is year-round open season on hunting of Muntiacus reevesi in Ireland. Licenses are issued by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The use of high calibre rifles is necessary due to the tough hide of this species. Sound moderators (silencers) should also be used to reduce disturbance to the target species, other wildlife and local residents. The use of a deer call (buttolo) can increase efficiency. Night shooting will also be necessary if eradication is to be possible (Dick, Provan & Reid, 2009).
Prefer dense woodland and commercial forestry with a variety of vegetation (Chapman, 2008).
Established - Localised. Majority of the records in Ireland are from Wicklow where the species was first reported from in 2008 (National Biodiversity Data Centre, Biodiversity Maps) though there are records from Cork, Kildare, Meath, Wexford. In Northern Ireland, most records are from Co. Down where it was first seen in 2009 (Dick et al., 2009), but it has also been seen in Co. Armagh. The species is known to be reproducing in Northern Ireland but no evidence of establishment in Ireland.
Native to south east China and Taiwan (Chapman, 2008). However its population maybe decreasing in its native range where there is no estimate for population and the UK population estimated at 52,000 (Chapman, 2008) may represent a significant proportion of the species globally.
Date of first record category
Fifty year date category
Records submitted to Data Centre in 2023
The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.
How can you help
Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre. Do not buy or sell Muntjac deer or release any into the wild.
Detailed (NAPRA Ireland) Risk assessment for Muntjac deer in Ireland (2014): http://nonnativespecies.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Muntiacus-reevesi-Muntjac-Deer.pdf
Ward, A. I. & Lees, K. (2011). Analysis of cost of preventing establishment in Scotland of muntjac deer (Muntiacus spp.). Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.457.: www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/commissioned_reports/457.pdf
Carden, R.F.., Carlin, C. M., Marnell, F., Mc Elholm, D., Hetherington, J. & Gammel,
M. P. 2011. Distribution and range expansion of deer in Ireland. Mammal Review, 41, 313-
Chapman, N.G. (2008), Genus Muntiacus : Reeves' Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi. In: Harris, S. & Yalden, D.W. (eds.) Mammals of the British Isles: Handbook. Mammal Society, Southampton.
Dick, J.T.A, Provan, J. & Reid, N. (2009) Muntjac Knowledge Transfer: Ecology of introduced muntjac deer and appraisal of control procedures. Report prepared by the Natural Heritage Research Partnership, Quercus for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Northern Ireland, UK. http://pure.qub.ac.uk/portal/files/665057/Dick,%20Provan%20&%20Reid%20(2009)%20Muntjac%20Knowledge%20Transfer.pdf Site accessed 3 October 2017.
European Commission. (2017). Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern. European Union, Luxembourg.
Harris, S, Chapman, N & Stanford, ARM (1994), 'Reeves' muntjac Muntiacus reevesi in Britain: their history, spread, habitat selection, and the role of human intervention in accelerating their dispersal' Mammal Review, Vol 24, pp. 113 - 160.
Mayle, B (1999) Managing deer in the countryside – Practice note. Forestry Commission. Edinburgh. https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/fcpn6.pdf/$file/fcpn6.pdf Site accessed 3 October 2107.
Stokes, K., O'Neill, K. & McDonald, R.A. (2004) Invasive species in Ireland. Unpublished report to Environment & Heritage Service and National Parks & Wildlife Service. Quercus, Queens University Belfast, Belfast. http://www.botanicgardens.ie/gspc/pdfs/quercusreport.pdf Site accessed 3 October 2017.
Report Muntjac deer sightings online: http://records.biodiversityireland.ie/record/invasives or through the Biodiversity Data Capture App. Available for android and iPhone. Please submit a photograph with sighting details if you have one.
Identification sheet for Muntjac deer
Atlas of Irish Mammals - Muntjac deer
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species