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Stag put down after hikers fed it croissants sparks public warning

A stag made famous on social media has had to be put down after it was fed junk food by hikers. The incident has prompted the Scottish Countryside Alliance to issue a public warning about the dangers of feeding wildlife.

Callum, described as a “well-known character” in the north-west Scottish Highlands, had to be euthanised after developing health problems.

The animal became a ‘social media sensation’ after it became known for its willingness to approach visitors in the car park of Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and eat from their hands.

Sadly, videos posted online show the stag being fed croissants and Rice Krispies, as well as healthier snacks such as strawberries and apples.

This week, National Trust Scotland announced that it had been forced to have Callum put down, while locals expressed concern that the stag’s access to snacks was to blame for its deteriorating health.

They claim that being fed the wrong types of food caused Callum’s teeth to rot and meant it struggled to forage for itself in the colder months.

Jake Swindells, Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance said: “If you are lucky enough to be able to encounter our beautiful wildlife at close quarters, remember that wildlife means exactly that.

“Enjoy the experience but it is vital that human intervention should not become commonplace. The results can be incredibly dangerous, not only to animals but humans too.

“In this case, a Red Deer Stag became reliant on food supplied by visitors to the area, and the cost of this was the expedited rotting of the deer’s teeth after being continually fed sugary foods, reducing the animals’ ability to eat properly and leaving it to deteriorate in condition.

“Visitors must be familiar with The Countryside Code, or at least use some common sense when encountering wildlife.”

The Countryside Code, which offers advice on how the public can responsibly enjoy a visit to the countryside, advises against feeding livestock, horses or wild animals as it can cause them harm.


Image credit: Gary Cox

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