An exceptionally rare white deer nicknamed "Pearl" has been discovered in the Scottish lowlands by a professional hunter, who is now taking bids from people who want to kill it.

The whitecoated roebuck, which experts say is not an albino, is so unusual that only a handful have been seen in Britain since the end of the Second World War.

That the deer has now been given what amounts to a death sentence has infuriated animal lovers, who are now campaigning to save its life.

Kevin Stuart, who has the stalking rights to the 3,000-acre estate in Dumfries and Galloway where the wild deer lives, says he hopes to secure a four-figure sum from a trophy-seeking client to shoot it when the hunting season opens in three weeks' time.

He has already been contacted by people keen to stalk the deer, which could fetch up to $8,500 — four times the price of a normal specimen.

The idea of having such a rare trophy is exciting the interest of field-sports enthusiasts across Britain and even farther afield, and threatening to start a bidding war for the right to shoot it.

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