New Forest Wildlife Photography


No silver linings

Last weekend you might have seen an article that appeared in most national newspapers about the killing of a monarch Red Stag at Burley here in the New Forest. This is a grievous event that has saddened me deeply.

I first heard the news when I got a phone call from a local news agency, enquiring as to whether I had any images of this particular animal, which as it happens I did. Some of my images appeared in the Daily Mirror and Daily Express coverage, but I couldn’t summon much enthusiasm about it. This was an animal that I had been up close with and knowing it had drowned whilst badly injured from a bullet wound is a horrible thought.

I even had some feedback that I shouldn’t have allowed the images to be used at all, that doing so encourages others to try their luck at coming to the Forest and poaching deer. I don’t subscribe to this view. I believe the public need to be reminded of how beautiful these stags are, in the hope that they care more about preserving their lives than hanging their heads on a wall. Only photography can make that emotional connection, words alone won’t do.

Above you can see for yourself how beautiful this particular stag was, I hope the images make you want to preserve our native wildlife as much as I do. In the meantime we must all do our bit to stay vigilant and keep an eye on the other big stags in the New Forest and hope they don’t suffer the same fate.

I feel for Dan Tanner, the landowner, who I’ve met and I know cares deeply for his beautiful Red Deer herd. If you want to understand better for yourself then go on one his New Forest Deer Safaris, they’re great. The world turns and eventually there’ll be a new monarch at Burley, I just wish nature could take its course with these matters rather than human greed ending such a magnificent animal’s life.




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