Celebrity Scottish stag put down after hikers feed it junk food

Scottish stag
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A highland stag that became well-known for approaching hikers for snacks has had to be euthanized as a result of his poor diet.

Callum the stag, who even had his own Facebook page, was often seen at Torridon’s Beinn Eighe car park, in the north-west Highlands, where he would walk up to hikers and accept food from human hands.

Unfortunately, videos posted online show that these snacks included croissants and Rice Krispies, not exactly what Callum would be feasting on in the wild.

“We are saddened to say that following expert vet advice, Callum the stag… has had to be humanely put down,” a National Trust Scotland (NTS) spokesperson said.

“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.”

The NTS didn’t officially reveal the health issue that Callum was facing, but The Ross-shire Journal reported that hikers had been feeding him the wrong foods, which caused the stag to lose his teeth and left him unable to forage.

Meanwhile The Telegraph reported that the NTS expert vet assessment found Callum was suffering pain and discomfort from poor body condition, poor coat condition and arthritis.

Jake Swindells, director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance said: “If you are lucky enough to be able to encounter our beautiful wildlife at close quarters, remember that wildlife means exactly that. Enjoy the experience but it is vital that human intervention should not become commonplace. The results can be incredibly dangerous, not only to animals but humans too.”