Friday, 11 May 2012
Goodbye to Eric
It has been a sad week for us all at the Centre. This Wednesday the decision was made to put our Master Stag, "Eric", down.
Eric had a bad accident 5 years ago when he broke his leg... usually this would mean an instant decision to euthanise, but it healed quickly and he coped very well. However as the years went on, it was obvious that the extra age began to take it's toll. Last rut he struggled, and then really deteriorated over the cold Winter spell.
Coming into the Spring he was making no improvements, he was struggling to eat with little to no teeth left, was struggling to move around with his bad leg and stiffness and looked like he was generally losing condition all over. Eric was nearly 16 years old, a lot older than many stags reach in the wild.
It was decided at the beginning of the week, under our vet's recommendation, to put him down.
For those that know me well, you will know I have always had a soft spot for our deer, and for Eric in particular having worked with him for the past 8 years. He was a kind soul, and showed no aggression towards me or any of the keepers... even during the rut. Quite rare for a captive stag which hand fed.
I will miss Eric a lot, as I am sure many regular visitors will too, but it was his time and his leaving makes way for a new stag to take the helm of the herd.
Next week we will be welcoming a new red deer stag to our group, and we will be keeping one of Eric's sons to grow and mature. This will allow our deer to rut again in the Autumn, as well as inject a new bloodline into our herd.