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Celebrity stag put down after tourists feed it croissants and Rice Krispies

Simon Calder’s Travel

A stag well known among Highlands hikers for eating from their hands has been put down after too many tourists fed him snacks.

Callum the stag had to be humanely euthanised by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) after developing poor health, pain and discomfort this month.

The well-known Highlands red deer frequently posed for pictures and sought snacks from tourists at Torridon’s Beinn Eighe car park on the North Coast 500 route.

According to locals, the beloved character was fed the wrong food, including croissants, Rice Krispies, fruit and cereal bars, by hikers, causing him to lose most of his teeth. This subsequently hindered his ability to forage independently.

The volume of human snacks consumed by the celebrity stag, as seen in several YouTube videos, has been blamed for his health struggles.

Previously, signs along the Scotland road trip route pictured Callum with the warning to tourists “Please do not feed me or get too close!”

Andrew Grant McKenzie, a Highland historian and fan of the famed red deer, described Callum as a “local legend” to the Ross-shire Journal and criticised tourists for feeding wild animals things they couldn’t “browse themselves naturally”.

“There is no doubt Callum had a good long life for a stag,” added Mr McKenzie.

A spokesperson for NTS said: “We are saddened to say that following expert vet advice, Callum the stag, who was often found in the car park at Torridon, has had to be humanely put down.

“We know that many in the community, and visitors too, will be sorry to hear this. As a conservation charity, we take our responsibilities for animal welfare seriously and the advice was that this was the kindest option.”

According to an expert vet assessment, Callum’s health had deteriorated and the stag was suffering pain and discomfort as a result of “poor body condition, poor coat condition and arthritis.”

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