Save the rare white roebuck from becoming a trophy

whitedeer_499712a1“Pearl” a rare white deer nicknamed living quietly in the Scottish lowlands. Soon it will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The one with the most money will get to kill this very rare specimen of nature.

Kevin Stuart, who has the stalking rights to the 3,000-acre estate in Dumfries and Galloway where the wild deer lives, says he hopes to secure a four-figure sum from a trophy-seeking client to shoot it when the hunting season opens in three weeks’ time. He has already been contacted by people keen to stalk the deer, which could fetch up to £6,000 — four times the price of a normal specimen.

The white coated roebuck, is not an albino, but only a handful have been seen in Britain since the end of the WWII. Animal rights groups are banning together to save the deer.
The idea of having such a rare trophy is exciting the interest of field-sports enthusiasts across Britain and even farther afield, and threatening to start a bidding war for the right to shoot it. One specialist British shooting magazine is planning to publish a regular “white roebuck diary”, which will count down to its death by detailing sightings and bids by those wishing to kill it.

Louise Robertson, Scotland campaign manager at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It’s appalling that people get pleasure from shooting these animals anyway, but to kill a rare species that should be enjoyed by the wider public beggars belief.”

With the overall deer population now at historically high levels, concerns have been raised over how to manage their numbers in order to minimize damage to crops and trees.

The white roebuck was first spotted on December 29, 2008 by Dave Bartle while he was out stalking on the estate at Kirkconnel. He managed to photograph it at fairly close range and since then several other hunters have also seen it. Dave Goffin, training manager for the British Deer Society, said: “It’s definitely not an albino, though it does look like a strange thing. It’s a genetic throwback. Historically they are very uncommon.”

Other deer species are known to throw up white specimens with far greater frequency than roe. A strain of white coated fallow deer – the “white hart” of medieval hunts – is still common.

Richard Prior, a leading authority on roe deer, said: “A really white roe is quite a rarity. I am only aware of a few, certainly fewer than a dozen, in the last 60 years.”

Resources

How much to kill this deer?
A hunter is auctioning the chance to kill a rare white deer in Scotland
-Daniel Foggo March 8, 2009

Excerpts courtesy of TimesONLine.co.uk timesonline.co.uk/5864850.ece

Image courtesy of www.riflephoto.com and http://beagle.rifllephoto.com

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