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THE SCOTTISH DEER CENTRE

Friday, August 24, 2012

JUST A BIT OF BACKGROUND AS THIS IS MOSTLY A PICTORIAL BLOG.

THE SCOTTISH DEER CENTRE IS ONE OF A NUMBER OF ANIMAL PARKS AND SANCTUARIES IN SCOTLAND THAT HAS SOUGHT TO PRESERVE NATIVE SPECIES. THEY DO ALSO HAVE SOME IMPORTS, BUT THE VAST MAJORITY OF THEIR ANIMALS COULD, AT ONE TIME, BE FOUND WANDERING THROUGHOUT THE SCOTTISH COUNTRYSIDE.

SADLY THIS IS NO LONGER TRUE FOR MANY INDIGINOUS SPECIES AND SOME HAVE BEEN HUNTED TO EXTINCTION.

THANKFULLY, THROUGH CAREFUL BREEDING PROGRAMMES, SEVERAL SPECIES HAVE BEEN SAVED, ALTHOUGH ONE ESPECIALLY WILL NEVER EVER BE RELEASED BACK INTO THE WILD, AND THAT IS THE WOLF. IT IS TOTALLYT EXTINCT IN ENGLAND AND WALES BUT THANKFULLY THE DEER CENTRE DOES HAVE A WILD PACK, AND THIS IS THE ONLY ONE LEFT IN BRITAIN. ALTHOUGH CAGED INSOFAR AS THERE IS A BOUNDARY FENCE TO THE WOOD, THE WOLVES ARE STILL ALLOWED TO ROAM FREE AND ARE NOT KEPT IN ENCLOSURES OR CAGES LIKE THEY WOULD BE IN A ZOO. THEY HAVE SEVERAL ACRES OF WOODLAND T ACT AS A PACK SHOULD ACT AND ALTHOUGH THE RANGERS DO FEED THEM, THE REST OF THE BEHAVIOUR IS PURELY NATURAL.

THE SAME GOES FOR THE LYNX. THIS IS COMMON TO NORTH AMERICA OF COURSE BUT IT WAS ALSO QUITE COMMON IN THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND. EVEN TODAY LYNX SIGHTINGS, ALTHOUGH RARE, HAVE BEEN REPORTED.

YOU COULD BE FORGIVEN FOR THINKING THAT THE SCOTTISH WILDCAT LOOKS A LOT LIKE THE DOMESTICATED CAT WE SO LOVE. THE BIG DIFFERENCE IS THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO TANGLE WITH ONE OF THESE CREATURES. THEY ARE VORACIOUS HUNTERS AND ARE REALLY THE IMMEDIATE FORERUNNERS OF OUR BELOVED PETS, AND TRACES OF THEIR BEHAVIOUR CAN BE OBSERVED BY WATCHING WHAT OUR PET CAT GETS UP TO. THEY ARE ALSO NOW CONFINED TO THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND AS THEY WERE HUNTED DOWN AS PESTS BY FARMERS. THEY MAY BE SMALL BUT THEY WILL TACKLE A BABY LAMB AND CHICKENS HAVE NO CHANCE. THEY ALSO LOVE TO EAT SMALL MAMMALS AS WELL AND BOY ARE THEY QUICK ACROSS THE GROUND AND REALLY AGILE , JUST LIKE THE LYNX.

THE SANCTUARY ALSO BOASTS A RED FOX FAMILY, WHICH IS QUITE A COMMON ANIMAL STILL AND CAN BE SEEN ALL OVER THE PLACE, INCLUDING IN OUR TOWNS AND CITIES. HAVING SAID THAT, URBAN FOX IS A LOT DIFFERENT TO COUNTRYSIDE FOX BUT NUMBERS HAVE BEEN ON THE INCREASE SINCE FOXHUNTING WAS MADE ILLEGALM AND QUITE RIGHTLY SO. YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THE FARMER WANTING TO SHOOT IT AS A PEST IF IT GETS INTO THE HEN COOP BUT TO HUNT IT DOWN USING A OPACK OF DOGS, DRIVING THE ANIMAL INTO EXHAUSTION AND THEN SETTING THE DOGS TO RIP IT APART ALL IN THE NAME OF SPORT IS QUITE REPUGNANT.

WHICH BRINGS ME ON TO THE OTTERS. SUCH ADORABLE CREATURES WHEN YOU SEE THEM AT PLAY BUT YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE BITTEN BY ONE AS THEY HAVE RAZOR SHARP TEETH. AS WITH THE FOXES, OTTER HOUNDS WERE EMPLOYED TO HUNT THE ANIMALS FROM THEIR WATERSIDE BURROWS SO THAT MAN COULD WATCH THEM BEING TORN APART IN THE NAME OF SPORT. THANKFULLY THAT WAS OUTLAWED EVEN BEFORE FOX HUNTING. IT STARTED OF COURSE WHEN MAN TOOK TO FISHING TO CATCH A MEAL FOR HIS SUPPER. OTTERS WERE TAKING THE FISH FROM THE RIVERS AND IN PLACES WHERE COMMERCIAL RIVER FISHING TOOK PLACE, THEY WERE CONSIDERED VERMIN. EDUCATION HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE THEN THANKFULLY.

IN THE PARK WOODLAND THERE IS ALSO A NUMBER OF RED SQUIRRELS BUT THEY ARE A LITTLE SHY AND ARE NOT PART OF THE PARK PROGRAMME BUT HAVE MADE THEIR WAY INTO THE PARK THROUGH THEIR OWN RESOURCES. THE RED SQUIRREL CAN NOW ONLY BE FOUND IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE UK. WHEN THE GREY SQUIRREL ARRIVED IN BRITAIN IT QUICKLY TOOK HOLD AND, BEING STRONGER THAN THE RED, IT SOON TOOK OVER THE TERRITORIES. NOW, MANAGED TERRITORIES ARE SET ASIDE SO THAT THE RED SQUIRREL HAS SURVIVED.

THE ONE NON-INDIGINOUS SPECIES WHICH ALSO THRIVES AT THE CENRTE WILL BE KNOWN TO A LOT OF YU AS IT IS THE SECOND ;ARGEST DEER IN THE WORLD, AND THAT IS THE NORTH AMERICAN ELK. THE CENTRE ONLY HAS A FEW IN THE ENCLOSURE ALTHOUGH, AS WITH ALL OF THE DEER, AN ACTIVE BREEDING PROGRAMME IS UNDER WAY.

THE ONLY THING THAT THE CENTRE DOES NOT ALLOW TO HAPPEN IS THE RUT, WHEN MALES WILL VIE FOR RIGHTS TO MATE AND ANIMALS COULD GET KILLED. WHEN MALES REACH THAT TIME IN KLIFE THEY ARE SEPARATED AWAY FROM THE HERD AND ONLY REINTRODUCED WHEN A BREEDING STAG CANNOT BREED ANY LONGER. OTHER THAN THE ANIMALS ARE LEFT TO DO THEIR OWN THING. WHAT I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT WAS THE FACT THAT ALTHOUGH A STAG WIL SHED ANTLERS ANNUALLY, IT IS NOT IN VAIN AS DEER WILL EAT ANTLERS RATHER LIKE A DOG CHEWS A BONE, AND WILL THUS GET ALL THE GOODNESS FROM THE BONE BACK INTO THEM.

THE BIRDS OF PREY ARE ALL STILL RESIDENT IN SCOTLAND BUT CAN RARELY BE SEEN UOP CLOSE, AND SOME, SUCH AS THE BARN OWL, IS NEVER SEEN AS IT IS A NOCTURNAL HUNTER. THE DISPLAY ONLY FLEW TWO BIRDS BUT THEN BROUGHT OUT A COUPLE OF SIX MONTH OLD BARN OWLS WHICH HAD BEEN BRED AT THE SITE AND QHICH YOU COULD STROKE. ALTHOUGH ONLY TWO BIRDS WERE FLOWN, WAS FLOWN FROM TAKE TO TABLE SO THAT YUO COULD GET UP CLOSE WITH IT, A LTHOUGH YOU WERE ADVISED NOT TO TRY AND TOUCH IT AS IT WOULD HAVE YOUR FINGERS OFF. THE HANDLER ACTIALLY GOT THE OWL TO SHOW THE HUNTING KILLSAND I SWEAR THAT YOU COULD NOT HEAR A SOUND AS IT SWOOPED DOWN IN A GLIDE AND STAMPED ITS TALONS ONTO THE 'PREY'. THE PEREGRINE FALCON AS WELL. THIS WAS A BIRD WITH A REAL SENSITIVITY. THE HANDLER WOULD TRY AND DART AROUND ONE OF THE TABLES AND THE FALCON WOULD STILL COTTON ONTO HER EVEN WHEN IN MID FLIGHT. AGAIN A DEMO OF THE HUNTING SKILLS WAS GIVEN BY TE HANDLER THROWING UP A BIT OF TITBIT INTO THE AIR AND THE BIRD WOULD FLY UP AND CATCH IT FROM WHEREEVER IT WAS AT THE TIME. MIND YOU, IT WAS QUITE AMUSING AS THIS BIRD LOVED TO FLY CLOSE TO YOU AND ALL BUT PART YOUR HAIR.

THIS LAST LEADS NICELY ONTO THE FIRST SET OF PICS. AS YOU CAN SEE, THERE ARE QUITE A DEW BIRDS OF PREY, OR RAPTORS, KEPT, BRED AND FLOWN.


UNFORTUNATELY, THERE ARE MANY OF THE ANIMALS I CANNOT SHOW TO YOU. TRISH DID TRY AND GET SOME PICS ON HER MOBILE PHONE BUT THEY CAME OUT SO SMALL FOR SOME REASON THAT I AM NOT ABLE TO POST THEM. SO NO WOLVES OR LYNXES OR WILDCATS I AM AFRAID, BUT I DID GET SOME OTTERS. THIS FAMILY STARTED OUT AS ONE OTTER; A FEMALE. THE CENTRE BROUGHT IN A MALE AS A PLAY COMPANION AND THE TWO HIT IT OFF SO WELL THAT THEY HAVE BRED EVER SINCE.


AND OF COURSE, JUST A FEW DEER. THE FIRST OF THESE IS A FALLOW DEER AND WAS ACTUALLY HABD REARED AT THE CENTRE. MOTHER COULD NOT PROVIDE ENOUGH MILK SO ONE OF THE RANGERS EVEN TOOK IT HOWM WITH EHR AND FED IT THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT AS IT HAD TO BE FED EVERY 3 HOURS FOR THE FIRST 6 MONTHS OF ITS LIFE. NOW IT IS MORE OF A PET AND DEFINITELY KNOWS THE ROPES. THE HANDLER GVES EVERYONE SOME FOOD AND THE DEER WALKS UP AND DOWN THELINE FOLLOWING THE BUCKET AND EATING FROM THE HAND. IT IS THE ONLY ENCLOSURE WHERE YOU ARE ALLOWED INSIDE TO FEED AND OYU WILLS EE TRISH DOING THE JOB. ELSEWHERE YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FEED THE DEER AND BUY THE FOOD AT THE ENTRANCE. SOME COME TO YOU STRAIGHT AWAY, AS YOU WILL SEE MARY AT WORK, BUT OTHERS JUST CANNOT BE BOTHERED AND WILL JUST IGNORE YOU. THAT STAG WAS A REAL BULLY AND AT ONE POONT MARY HAD TO MOVE AWAY SO THAT THE OTHERS COULD GET SOME FOOD. THERE ARE ACTUALLY 3 DIFFERENT SPECIES IN THAR PARTICULAR ENCLOSURE ALL LIVING HAPPILY TOGETHER. THE PICS DO NOT SHOW ALL THE DEER SPECIES OF THE PARK, BUT WILL GIVE YOU SOME IDEA OF THE TERRAIN I WAS TRYING TO NEGOTIATE AND BELIEVE ME, IT WAS SOFTER THAN IT LOOKS NOT TO MENTION BUMPY.


I KNOW, FOR A DEER CENTRE THERE ARE NOT TOO MANY DEER PHOTOS BUT I SIMPLY COULD NOT GET ROUND TO ALL THE ENCLOSURES, WHICH WAS A SHAME. NONETHELESS, IT WAS A REALLY GOOD DAY OUT AND I THINK WE WILL DEFINITELY BE GOING BACK.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYCECAIN 8/28/2012 12:27PM

    Thanks for the tour. I just love the pictures of the birds of prey and the otters. It is something I don't see much of. Got work to do, write to you later. Love

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CAROLIAN 8/25/2012 5:17AM

    Looks like another great day out We havent been far as Ian is so depressed waiting for his next appointment at the hospital they told him 4 weeks after his scan which was 6 weeks ago he wants to go back to work but mentally he is not ready emoticon

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DEE107 8/25/2012 12:43AM

    thank you for sharing my friend love your vacations feel i am there with you

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JOSHWATS 8/24/2012 7:51PM

    Another interesting and informative blog Mac. You've got a real gift for this sort of thing I think.

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LINDA! 8/24/2012 6:25PM

    Wonderful pictures. I really enjoy the information that you relay. It allows me to understand more about the animals.

Thank you!

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SHERRY666 8/24/2012 6:17PM

    LOVE ALL THE PICTURES MAC.......... I THINK IT'S SO NEAT THAT THEY DON'T GAGE CERTAIN ANIMALS....... THE HISTORY WAS VERY INTERESTING.... THANKS FOR SHARING.......

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ANJAYS-JOURNEY 8/24/2012 5:18PM

    AwesomeI have visited the deer center many times, it is so great, thanks for sharing and bringing a bit of home to Canada.
Thankyou

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FRUSTRATEDOMA 8/24/2012 5:16PM

    MAC ONCE AGAIN YOU DID A GREAT JOB WITH YOUR BLOG. I THINK THE PICTURES I TAKE AT THE BIRDS OF PREY ON TUESDAY WILL BE SIMILAR. LOVED ALL THE PHOTOS

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WALLINMW 8/24/2012 4:14PM

  Beautiful!

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