Precious Sighting

The Muntjac Deer is the oldest species of deer, first appearing some 15,000,000 years ago in the area spanning France through Poland (male Muntjacs have tusks to this day). Today, they are indigenous to Asia, with various species of Muntjac appearing in most Asian countries from Sri Lanka, through India, the Himalayas into China and Japan.

About 115 years ago (give or take) the Duke of Bedford imported some to England for his deer park at Woburn Abbey. Some escaped in the mid-1920s and the Muntjac spread … rapidly. They don’t have a rutting season, being tropical in origin; they mate all year. By 2007, Muntjac were in all areas of England and Wales, and are now spreading into Scotland and, with a little help from humanity, the Republic of Ireland. They will soon be the most populous species of deer in the British Isles.

They are shy creatures, almost never seen in the open except at dusk and dawn, and then they stay close to cover. They are rarely seen. One evening last year, I looked out my living room window and immediately ran for my camera. The pictures are a bit soft, as they were taken in rather a hurry, through glass, but they tell a lovely story of a rare sighting.

As Mr. Pheasant looks on, Bambi and Thumper meet.
As Mr. Pheasant looks on, Mrs. Doe and Mr. Rabbit meet.
She hugs the trees for security.
She hugs the trees for security.
Skirting the scrub.
Skirting the scrub.

Sensing no danger, she decides to cut across the lawn.

Brief foray into the open.
Brief foray into the open.
Her fear is too great and she goes back to relative safety.
Her fear is too great and she goes back to relative safety.
Stinging Nettles would be preferable to being caught out.
Stinging Nettles would be preferable to being caught out.
Away from the human habitat, she relaxes a little.
Away from the human habitat, she relaxes a little.
And Thumper watches his new friend walk away.
And Mr. Rabbit watches his new friend walk away.

It all took about three minutes and I’ve never seen one again. I keep my eyes open, however, for another glimpse of this gentle and shy creature.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s