Heartbreak and outrage have erupted over the killing of a rare deer living at Kensington Metropark in Michigan. The white, white-tailed buck was shot and killed in the park in Milford, Michigan, in February and has left local residents, nature-lovers and wildlife photographers mourning the loss.
“I have more than just a passing interest in this sad story, and I’m taking it very personally,” said local photographer, Gregory Miller, in a letter to Western District Park Superintendent Kimberly Jarvis.
The eight-point buck with a pink poise and blue eyes was reported by Spinal Column to have been unintentionally killed this past winter. Park officials, who identified the deer as a piebald, said the buck was a killed as a result of a population control effort at the park.
The rare buck left a lasting effect and had a special place in the hearts of many including Carl Sams, who witnessed the deer many times in his own backyard and watched it grow from a fawn to an eight-point buck, reports 7 Action News.
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“His coat was the nicest coat I had ever seen and he had these blue eyes,” said Sams, who runs a business with his wife creating wildlife photography children’s books, 7 Action News reported. “It is like a miracle. A white white-tailed deer showing up in a wildlife photographer’s yard. I couldn’t believe it.”
After not seeing the deer for a while, Sams as well as others who had been captivated by the buck, such as photographer Lou Waldock, learned at a park meeting that the deer had been killed by park service.
“To see him, the feeling is indescribable. He’s like a magical being. You felt privileged to be in his presence,” Waldock told 7 Action News.
The albino or piebald deer are extremely rare in Michigan, according to Spinal Column, and some suggest the ratio of seeing such a creature being as uncommon as 1 in 100,000. Now, following the death of the deer, many are saying that someone needs to be held responsible.
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Paul Muelle, natural resources director at Huron Clinton-Metroparks said that the killing of the buck was not deliberate, and nothing that was done could be considered illegal. According to Muelle, most Huron-Clinton Metroparks use a deer management program to prevent the natural habitats at the park from being destroyed.
“Our preference would be not to take that deer … and it’s an unfortunate circumstance, certainly not intentional. But it happened and it’s part of the overall culling process,” Muelle told The Oakland Press.