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White Red deer (Photo by Gail Simons)
White Red Deer stag at Stoney Oaks   (Photo by Gail Simons)

White Red Deer

A Rare Breed of European Origin

      Red deer were introduced into new Zealand as early as 1851, but it was not until some decades later that they became established in the wild as game animals.

      There were numerous importations of various kinds of deer in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, mostly for release as wild game for shooting.

      By the middle of the twentieth century numbers had increased so much that deer in general were considered “vermin” by most farmers and conservationists. The Noxious Animals Act of 1956 declared that all deer were pests.

White Red deer (Photo by Nathan Hende)
A young White Red Deer stag with two ordinary Red Deer,
on a West Coast farm   (Photo by Nathan Hende)

      However, in 1969 Deer Farming was legalized in New Zealand and by 1990 there were over 900,000 deer being farmed on over 5000 properties.

      A white variant of the Red Deer is bred in small numbers on a few deer farms and parks, mostly as a novelty, and it is considered to be rare. The origin of these is not known but they are often referred to as Danish White Red Deer.

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