Britain's biggest animal 'killed for antlers'

Oct 26, 2010
A deer is pictured in Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent, in 2009. A giant red stag thought to be Britain's biggest wild animal was killed for its antlers, according to reports on Tuesday.

A giant red stag thought to be Britain's biggest wild animal was killed for its antlers, according to reports on Tuesday.

The body of the "Exmoor Emperor," named after the southwestern area where the stag was frequently sighted, was found close to a road in the county of Devon.

It is believed that a licensed hunter is responsible for legally killing the stag, which stood nine feet (2.75 metres) to the tips of its antlers.

An industry source claimed hunters would have paid up to 10,000 pounds (15,800 dollars, 11,300 euros) to the landowner for the opportunity to shoot the creature.

But the action still drew condemnation from deer-lovers who believe hunting should be banned during the mating season.

"It could be that he didn't get a chance to rut properly this year, therefore his genes have not been passed on this time round," Peter Donnelly, an Exmoor-based deer management expert, said.

"The poor things should be left alone during the rut, not harried from pillar to post."

The identity of the marksman remains a mystery, but it is believed to be one of the increasing number of wealthy sportsmen who are flooding to the area in search of a trophy.

"There are people who are prepared to spend quite ridiculous sums of money to have a trophy on their wall," Donnelly added.

"People talk about 1,000 pounds for a good head, but I've heard there are those who will pay a lot more."

One source from the hunting industry told AFP: "I think they would have paid around 10,000 pounds for the privilege."

Although not illegal, hunting during the is frowned upon as the mating stags are often underfed and tired due to their exertions, presenting an easy target.

Older stags are regularly culled due to the historic eradication of any but at around 12 years old, the Emperor is thought to have had more productive mating seasons left in him.

Explore further: Law of the Sea authorizes animal tagging research without nations' consent

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Michigan wants hunters to shoot feral pigs

Jan 30, 2008

Feral pigs have become such a problem in Michigan that the state Department of Natural Resources has asked deer hunters in 51 counties to shoot any they see.

Extinct giant deer relative found in U.K.

Sep 07, 2005

University College London scientists say DNA tests have identified the closest living relative to the extinct Irish Elk, or giant deer, living in England.

Tough yet stiff deer antler is materials scientist's dream

Nov 27, 2009

Prized for their impressive antlers, red deer have been caught in the hunters' sights for generations. But a deer's antlers are much more than decorative. They are lethal weapons that stags crash together when duelling. John ...

Recommended for you

How can we help endangered vultures?

Oct 24, 2014

Zoologists from the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin are proposing an ingenious idea to help conserve populations of African white-backed vultures. The iconic birds, which play a critical ...

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

Oct 24, 2014

Amargosa voles, small rodents that inhabit rare marshes of the Mojave Desert, have faced dire circumstances in recent years. Loss of habitat, extreme drought and climate change brought this subspecies of ...

User comments : 0