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13 November 2014

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You are in: Gloucestershire > Nature > Nature Features > White stag killed in the Forest

White buck, taken in the Forest by Rob Ward

Photo: Rob Ward.

White stag killed in the Forest

Nature photographer, Rob Ward, reflects on the life of the White Stag reported killed in the Forest of Dean.

Following the widely-reported news that a white stag on the Devon and Cornwall border had been poached, thoughts turned to the equivalent animals in the Forest of Dean.

Well, the concerns have become a reality.

It has been reported that a white deer in the Forest of Dean was knocked down by a motorist, before having his head cut off.

Robin Ward has been photographing wildlife in the Forest for many years, with only a few glimpses of the white stag to speak of...but those experiences have been unforgettable.

Sadly, from now on he'll be wondering when, and if, he'll ever be fortunate enough to see a similar beast again.

Glimpse of a ghost

Reflecting on the horrifying news, Rob says:

"We walk the trails. We sit and wait, for hours. In the daylight, darkness and snow, waiting anticipating, hoping for a glimpse of a ghost.

"It could be weeks, months or even years waiting for the ghost to appear, but when he did, it felt like it had been moments.

"All the years I have spent walking our Forest, clutching my camera, there was always one thought in the back of my mind and that was hoping for a chance encounter with the White Buck.

"I had been lucky enough to see him a few years ago and photograph him, but there was also another thought in the back of my mind.

Our white giant

"For years, I had been waiting to hear the news that he had been hit by a car or injured during the rut and killed, but to find out that "Trophy Hunters" had got their hands dirty on OUR White giant horrified me.

"To a lot of us, the Forest of Dean and it's wildlife play a big part in our lives and losing an Icon like the White Buck is like losing part of our heritage.

"He was OURS and he was here to stay.

"I will still walk the trails, I will still sit and wait, in the daylight, darkness and snow, but if I see him now, he truly will be a ghost.

"RIP fella, you will not be forgotten."

last updated: 08/10/2008 at 10:44
created: 08/11/2007

Have Your Say

Share your thoughts on the loss of the White Stag here. How do you think the wildlife in Gloucestershire can be best protected?

chris
I just do not understand the mentality of people who do such things! Unfortunately few people are caught and if they are the punishment is never harsh enough!

Jilly
What a heartbreaking thing to have happen! It's bad enought that it was hit by a car, an unfortunate accident, but for someone to then do what they did is absolutely appauling!

pippin
what a loss why do the few spoil things for the many to kill something as beautiful as this stag is senseless have they no conscience

barry notman
very sad. i seen one two days ago in my woods massive white stag thats what has made me look up about white stag. who do i get in touch with about this before a poachers gets it. i am from scotland

sarah
absolutely despicable. i cant for the life of me understand how some people are capable of these things

mike
its a disgrace but if you have lots of people watchen these animals it will only scare them away , they are secretive animals

Carl
What a terrible shame. I hope the scum that were responsible for the death of this beautiful, mysterious creature have nothing but bad luck. R.I.P noble creature.

John
It is a shame when this sortof thing happens, but unless you have an army of people to keep a good watch on the wildlife you won't do a lot. I don't like to say it but in todays world even some of the children like to distroy wild animals just for fun.

Simon
sickening.

mrs green
A very fine tribute Rob, it was shocking indeed.

ponting (graham)
Pity it's dead. Could've played in goal for England last night. Carson stuffed up the flaming gallah!

jacqui
Dont worry .. white stags are timeless. i went out in search of my local one .. sat down in a big clump of deadly nightshade .. waited about 5 minutes and there he was .. just came out of the woods to watch me .. the most magical thing .. only time i ever went looking and i knew just where to find him .. just a few feet away .. there is something truly magical about them.

goldie
i really love animals. my favourites are white. black and brown ones are ok but white is best. there was a lovely white horse called desert orkid which was a real champ. my gran has white hair but she died. she will look arfter the dead deer i think. love to you all

j lydon
I'm sure killing the beast was accidental. What I don't understand is why those who went to the trouble of decapitating the deer didn't get the hind legs of the animal. The meat is very low in cholesterol and tastes magic. What on earth are they going to do with the head for goodness sakes! Takes all sorts doesn't it!!

vegetarian animal lover
animals are not food. they are living breathing live and lovely creatures. no wonder the local chef will not identify him/herself. SHOCKED

BarB
You brought a tear to my eye Rob i know how passionate you are about this beautiful place we are fortunate to live in and to share with all the wonderful creatures.

luke
i think it was shoot not ranover and should be found

Shaun Moore- Community Reporter
It's disgusting.

local chef
as an eco warrior i think we should eat our road kill. It would be interesting to sample the meat of a white dear and compare it to a standard one. I would also like to try swan and compare it to goose. Seems wrong to let sentiment get in the way of an interesting culinary experiment.

RosieRoo
im am disgusted to think that this happened where my hearts always been, i grew up in the forest still go back amd miss the freedom to walk through the countryside..poaching is one thing but this is a whole new level,i hope they catch who ever did this and make the sick sick animal pay,shame we dont have an eye for an eye it also beggers the question did this animal go home and get the knife etc needed to do this or was this a premeditated case of hunting the animal down...whichever its sick beyond wordso and Bruno if you must try to talk varest please use the correct spelling and as for the bears, the fact that you have to mention an incident that took place on 26th April 1889 says alot for how much us local to the varest those born & bred love the wildlife ....as for displaying his body who in gods name wants to see a headless deer???

Guy
We were fortunate enough, living in Brierley, to be blessed with several sightings of this wondrous beast. It would always be quite magical to see him. Sadly missed, fondly remembered

Duke Theedam
This was a criminal act, barbaric to the extreme....accident or not, the taking of the head was deliberate...I do hope the perpetrator is caught..I rather think their head would look good on MY wall.

Rowena, Cheltenham
We were amazed to see him last week for the first time. It was a glorious day and he stood on the bracken covered verge beneath the oak trees. A magical picture of white and gold and blue sky. A moment to remember for ever. What a shame he is gone in such a way.

Bruno
Given the way they treat Bears down thar in't the vorrest, what chance for a harmless deer.

Dom
Why don't they put speed humps on the roads. Problem solved immediately.

J A; Scotland
Why is this person so evil to kill a such a beautiful animal..It's beyond me !!

Oh Deer
I guess it was knocked down by accident so see no reason why this beautifull beast should not be displayed in some grand room

Fiona, Kent
I am totally disgusted that another human would do such a thing to a living (and beautiful) animal. The people who did this should be ashamed, but I know they won't, that the very sad thing.

Nikki Moore, Pigsty Studio
I am appalled by the white buck's death and the unnecessary decapitation. He was a frequent visitor behind my studio at Hawkwell in the Forset of Dean, we saw him many times but kept quiet in case others would wish to harm him.I made several studies of him and was working on a painting for an exhibition called Spirit of the Forest. This will now sadly have to be a tribute.I have heard there were more than one so maybe the Forests White Ghost will continue.

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