“Pearl” the white roebuck marked for death

An extremely rare white roe deer may have only three weeks to live if trophy hunters get their way. A German huntsman has offered £5,400 for the right to stalk and kill the animal, nearly four times the regular price for a roebuck.

Kevin Stuart, owner of stalking rights at the Kirkconnel estate in Dumfries and Galloway, told the Daily Fail that he will not entertain any bids for the beast.

“While it is on this estate it will be safe. I don’t care how much anybody offers to kill it, I want to preserve it and make sure it has a long life,” he said.

The yearling, named Pearl by animal rights activists keen to stay his execution, is a “once in a decade” specimen, according to Charlie Jacoby, editor of Sporting Rifle magazine. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Jacoby described it as having a “teddy-bear face” and a “kangaroo head”.

The Times has a picture of Pearl, with which you can compare Jacoby’s assessment.

“It can be shot because it is a freak,” he added, stating that we have a “duty to the species” to prevent its peculiarities propagating throughout the population.

Will Travers, chief executive of the Born Free foundation, bemoaned the bloodlust, pointing out that in Hinduism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism white animals are revered and “may not be killed for religious or economic purposes”.

We might also note that such deer are celebrated in British culture, with 431 pubs and a football stadium named after the White Hart.

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