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article imageStag known as 'The Exmoor Emperor' shot dead in UK

By Lynn Curwin     Oct 25, 2010 in World
A red stag believed to be the largest animal in Britain has been found shot dead. The death of the Exmoor Emperor has upset many people who believe the animals should be protected during their mating season.
The stag, which weighed more than 135kg (300lb) and was almost 2.75 metres (9ft) tall, was shot near the busy Tiverton to Barnstaple road. It is thought that it was killed by a licensed hunter.
"It could be that he didn't get a chance to rut properly this year, therefore his genes have not been passed on this time round," The Guardian quoted Peter Donnelly, an Exmoor-based deer management expert, as saying.
"The poor things should be left alone during the rut, not harried from pillar to post. If we care about deer we should maintain a standard and stop all persecution during this important time of the year."
Deer lovers are concerned about the number of wealthy hunters who go to Exmoor to kill the best looking stags for trophies.
"There are people who are prepared to spend quite ridiculous sums of money to have a trophy on their wall,” Donnelly added. “People talk about £1,000 for a good head, but I've heard there are those who will pay a lot more."
The Emperor had been in good health and it is hoped that he has many offspring still living.
Donnelly reported that he had seen a very large young stag in the last few days.
Red deer stags are the largest indigenous land animal in the UK, and the Exmoor Emperor, who was believed to be 12 years old, was thought to be the largest one of those
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