Is the Reported Murder of Britain's Largest Wild Animal a Scam?


Photo credit: me'nthedogs/Creative Commons

The magnificent red deer stag known as the Emperor of Exmoor was shot and killed three weeks ago. This happened just a few days after his photograph appeared in national newspapers across the country. Who could resist a photo of such a magnificent stag.

It turns out that trophy hunters had to have it; soon after being shot locals saw the stag's carcass being loaded into a truck. Or did they? Now sceptics are saying that it is all a scam and the stag is still alive.After the photo was taken, his precise location was kept secret for fear of poachers. However his stamping grounds were well-known. One local farmer said that a bounty had been placed on his head for years, with "figures stretching to around £1,250 ($ 2,000)." The owner of the land where he lived never hunted him down. Local hunters always left him alone because he was such an impressive specimen.

Deer lovers were becoming increasingly worried about the number of rich sportspeople coming to Exmoor to shoot its finest stags as trophies.

Deer belong to the owner of the land, who has the right to shoot them during the season. According to The Independent, it is now believed that the animal went out of those woods and into someone else's land.

There he was supposedly shot by a hunter who paid thousands of pounds to the landowner for the privilege of doing this. It is thought that a handful of landowners were involved, one of whom is suspected of co-operating with an out-of-town trophy hunter. As one farmer said "People do collect things like they pay a premium to have a Porsche or Lamborghini."

Is it the case of Elvis sightings or is he really gone? Some are now saying that it is a "myth" invented to protect the animal from rogue hunters. They claim that the Emperor has been seen since the so-called shooting. The owners of the land where he was supposedly shot deny any knowledge of his death. Others who refuse to be named insist that they saw the Emperor in a battle with another male and that he was "standing the field, roaring and puffing out his chest."

It's a mystery that has gripped the country; websites, radio shows and newspapers have been inundated with calls asking "who pulled the trigger?"

People are furious that the Emperor was shot in the middle of the rutting season, preventing him from passing on the genetic bounty that allowed him to achieve such a huge stature. Others argue that older stags like the Emperor need to be culled for the benefit of the herd.

Stay tuned for the next installment of this mystery.

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Tags: Biodiversity | Ecology | Evolution | Extinction

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