Forestry officials are trying to save this male deer driven so crazy from living in captivity in a manor house courtyard for 15 years that it even killed its own mate and her fawn.
But for now there is nothing they can do for the stag – pictured here with cotton wool wrapped around its head – because the coronavirus outbreak has triggered a ban on the transportation of wildlife.
The sika deer (Cervus nippon) stag, which was gifted to the owner of the estate in 2005, turned aggressive and reportedly gored the other deer to death – his partner, a doe, and his offspring, a female fawn – in a fit of rage in 2019, caretaker Ms Xia said.
Forestry officials in Xi’an City’s Chang’an District, which is in north-western China’s Shaanxi Province, were called to the manor after a local resident noticed the restless stag locked inside.
The animal with large and sharp antlers was pictured with cotton wool wrapped around its head. It is unclear how the wool came to be wrapped around its antlers.
According to Ms Xia, the stag and doe were gifted to her employer, Mr Yuan, 15 years earlier.
Mr Yuan did not personally come to accept the animals, which he instructed to be kept on the premises in the empty and unoccupied traditional manor house, Ms Xia said.
The animals were fed hay, root vegetables and water.
The sika deer, which are on China’s list of protected species, lived in relative harmony for 15 years and even reared a fawn together before the stag killed its only mate and young last year.
Neither its caretaker nor forestry workers can get near the stag, which reportedly charges every person it sees.
Forestry official Zhang Xueli said Mr Yuan did not have a licence to keep or breed the sika deer, but he would avoid any serious punishment as he did not trade or harm the animals.
The forestry bureau will attempt to save and relocate the captive-bred stag, but they must wait until after the coronavirus outbreak ends as the transportation of wildlife – as well as trade and consumption – has been banned indefinitely.
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