An extremely rare ‘ghostly’ white stag has been caught on camera in Scotland.
The stag was spotted in the Cairngorms National Park on Jan.7 by a group of friends hiking as part of a bachelor party. Ironically, a bachelor party in the U.K. is known as a “stag do.”
SWNS reports that the “ghost-like” stag, which is part of the red deer species, is one of just a handful living in Britain.
The animal was spotted among a herd of red deer. "We were getting into the middle of the wilderness when we spotted the herd," explained Marc Brunelle, who took the photos. "There were about 200 of them -- it was magical."
Groom Damien Zoyo first spotted the white stag among the herd, he added.
The precise location of the sighting in the Scottish Highlands is being kept secret to protect the elusive animal from hunters and poachers.
The white stag’s unusual appearance is likely caused by a condition called leucism that results in loss of pigmentation.
A fully mature white stag was known as a “white hart” in old English, and numerous references to the animal can be found in British culture and folklore. The animal, for example, featured on the personal badge of King Richard II, and was said to bring good luck.
In Celtic mythology, the white hart is depicted as an otherworldly messenger, while in Arthurian legend the animal can never be caught and is synonymous with spiritual quest. The white stag is also associated with the myth of Herne the Hunter, a phantom huntsman.
Legend also links the white hart to Kind David I, a 12th-century king of Scotland.
To this day, “The White Hart” is a popular pub name in the U.K. and for over 100 years, Premier League Soccer team Tottenham Hotspur played their games at White Hart Lane stadium.
Although rare, there have been other occasional sightings of white stags in Scotland. A white stag was spotted on Scotland’s West Coast in 2012, and one was also photographed in the Scottish Highlands in 2008, according to media reports. Reuters reports that the body of a decapitated white stag was discovered in a remote part of South-West England in 2007.
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