Rare white deer a stand­out in what should be safe haven

Wildlife:

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - News -

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

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