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A number of residents in Kinlochleven have raised concerns that the feeding of two well-known deer stags is putting not only the animals at risk, but possibly children as well.
The two animals have become something of local celebrities, migrating between the playpark on the village’s Park Road and the area behind the old Post Office.
But now the community council is asking people, however well meaning, to refrain from feeding the animals amid fears for not just the welfare of the stags but the risk to youngsters from parasites carried by the animals.
‘While we are not immune to visits from deer, the feeding of them is a recent phenomenon and one we should try to dissuade well-meaning and thoughtful individuals from doing so,’ said the community council.
‘We are not helping the deer; we are not supporting them to lead a natural existence. We may, in fact, be putting them in jeopardy.
‘Let’s not forget while these animals are being fed – and therefore encouraged to stay in the playpark, for example – we could be putting the lives of the children who play there at risk. Lyme’s Disease is a very real threat to all who use the playpark.
‘Feeding the deer in public spaces is putting them at risk too. One of the stags attacked the Christmas tree and tangled his antlers in the lights.
‘This has never happened before, so it could be argued that our interference could be to blame.’
The council added that if the stags start to pose a more serious problem then they could end up being shot.
The issue of the deer was raised at the council’s first monthly meeting of the year last week, when it was agreed to collate information on the health implications of Lyme’s Disease.
And earlier this week it appeared that stag with its antlers draped in Christmas decorations had managed to finally divest itself of them.