Rare white deer a standout in what should be safe haven
A rare white deer has been spotted grazing in the grounds of the public body set up to protect Scotland's wildlife.
The ghost-like fallow deer buck was pictured standing by the entrance to the Scottish Natural Heritage building in Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway.
The animal is thought to have leucism, an unusual condition whereby pigmentation cells fail to develop properly. In rare cases, it results in completely white creatures, which can often be mistaken for albinos.
The creature was captured on film for posterity by police officer Graham Forsyth at 3am, while he was returning home from his shift.
Unfazed, the deer posed for a picture outside the SNH office, which also houses the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, before moving away.
Mr Forsyth said yesterday: “I was driving home from my work and, as I passed the SNH office, I saw a couple of deer to my left.
“I slowed down and there was a pure white one right in front of me. It stood out from all the others.
“I stopped the car and it stood long enough for me to take a picture. It was quite happy to pose for me before it sauntered off."
SNH, the Scottish Government-funded body that cares for the nation's wildlife, habitats, landscapes and natural beauty, said they were delighted to see the animal on their doorstep.
A spokesman added: “White fallow deer are an unusual sight, especially a buck like this. We are delighted to see it feeding in our grounds.
“White examples turn up in a range of species including squirrels, blackbird, fox and various marine mammals, as well as deer.
“For potential prey species, this can pose an extra challenge if they have lost the advantage of camouflage and predators can see them very easily. For a predator, the reverse is the case and prey will see them coming, making it harder to catch a meal.”
In Scotland, a white hart – a deer stag aged at least five years – is said to bring good luck.
And Mr Forsyth responded to hearing that by adding: “I've bought my lottery ticket."
RARITY: This white deer was snapped by Graham Forsyth at 3am on his way home from work