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Friday, September 23, 2011

A sight to warm the hart: Rare sighting of white stag spotted in Dartmoor


Rare: Photographer Ian Crisp captured this extremely rare white red stag but fears trophy hunters might shoot him

A mythical White Hart - one of the rarest animals in Britain - has been pictured in all its glory at a secret location by a wildlife lover.

Photographer Ian Crisp captured this extremely rare white red stag - known as White Harts - but the 30-year-old from North Tawton, Devon, is afraid the creature might be met by the same fate as the Exmoor Emperor.

The red stag and Britain's largest land mammal which was shot, allegedly, by a trophy-hunter last year.

Hidden location: Jonny Kingdom won't reveal where he saw the stag

Mr Crisp says his white hart lives in a great triangle of sparsely populated land somewhere between Hatherleigh, northern Dartmoor and the Devon Cornwall border.

'I'd like to photograph him again but I'm going to be careful.

'I don't want too many people to know where he is,' said Mr Crisp, who was tipped off about the white stag by a relative.

'It took me half an hour to get there, then I just walked across a field and photographed him.

'He was so docile, he didn't seem that bothered by me. I could have taken along a lump hammer and hit him on the head with it if I'd wanted to, he was so relaxed.

'I suppose he's a big boy and hasn't got any real natural enemies except someone with a gun, so why should he be frightened?

The Emporer is dead: The 'Exmoor Emperor' was believed to be Britain's biggest wild animal before it was killed

'I have seen some white hinds in the area before, and once I saw a white pricket, a single male with straight antlers. But I'd heard rumours there was a white stag about.

'Actually, I took the photo as a birthday present for someone.'

'We believed he was dumped by some private owner on Molland Common.
'He didn't stay long - I don't know what happened to him but they said he had difficulty seeing in the daylight.

'And there was also a well-known white hind on the Quantocks, but that one was shot,' added Mr Scott, referring to a death which made almost as many news headlines in its time as the shooting of the Exmoor Emperor last year.

But Mr Crisp is hoping West Devon's White Hart will be left in peace.
He said: 'There might be a few other local people who know where he is, so I am worried someone will have him.

'But you'd only trophy-shoot him for the colour, to be honest his antlers aren't like a big red stag's, I've seen a lot better. So I hope people will leave him alone.'

source: dailymail


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