Big money! UK wildlife tourism boosted during deer rutting season

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Big money! UK wildlife tourism gets a boost as deer rutting season begins

Britain is in turmoil for the woods right now, with statistics showing increasing numbers of tourists flocking to wildlife sanctuaries to view deer in September and October.

These two months mark the peak of the annual deer rutting season – when adult male deer fight for supremacy and mating rights, often with fierce battles.

Calm the Stag: Two Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) lock their horns in a dramatic battle for the right to mate

The spectacle is particularly striking north of the border.

The deer rut is one of the most spectacular sites on the Scottish wildlife calendar.

Rural estates are launching “safaris” which allow tourists to observe deer up close, in an attempt to capitalize on the trend at a time when traditional tourism is starting to slow down.

Wildlife tourism itself is worth something in the region of £ 270million to the Scottish economy, so it’s big business,” said Mike Cantlay, Chairman of Visit Scotland.

‘Wildlife visits to the UK account for 5.2% of all trips to Scotland, but account for 7.4% of total visitor spending, meaning wildlife visitors spend more than the visitor way.. “

Red deer have always attracted visitors to the Scottish hills, with stalking remaining an important source of income for many areas. But now more and more fields are interested in rutting deer.

Good cup of tea, deer?  A deer protects his harem of red deer during the rutting season at Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig, Scotland

Beware: a deer protects his harem during the rutting season at Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig

A doe is only in her fertile phase for one day or less each year, so the competition to mate is incredibly high.

A doe is only in her fertile phase for one day or less each year, so the competition to mate is incredibly high.

Glenlivet Wildlife offers a specific “Red Deer Rut Safari” (September 19 to October 20) in the Cairngorms National Park.

And it’s not just Scotland that is reaping the benefits of the increased interest.

At Powderham Castle in Devon, the launch of a deer safari last year was such a success that a ‘Deer Rut and Cream Tea Safari’ has now been introduced.

Ingrid Oram from Powderham says: “We have run deer safaris in the past, but the demand during the rutting season has been so great that we have increased the number of opportunities for visitors to see deer throughout. of the month of October. ”

“People like to come see deer on a tractor ride in the park, and then have cream tea afterwards.”

Wildlife experts describe the deer rut as a stunning natural phenomenon, with some of the UK’s largest mammals stranding their antlers in a head-to-head battle against female deer.

A doe is only in her fertile phase for a day or less each year, so the competition to mate is incredibly high.

James McLetchie and Rory MacGillivray launched Unwind In Nature last year. They offer tailor-made eco-tours for deer rutting in the Outer and Inner Hebrides, and describe the battles as “incredible, like the wild equivalent of a downtown pub on a Friday night, but maybe a little more spiritual “.


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