Ipswich: Muntjac deer found dead in Chantry Park
06:00 20 December 2012
MYSTERY surrounds the discovery of a dead deer found in Chantry Park with only its head intact.
The Ipswich Star has decided not to publish the picture, sent in by a reader, due to its graphic nature.
But the photograph revealed only the head, of what is believed to be a female muntjac, remaining – with its legs and body skin missing.
“It just looks too strange to have been killed by any other animal,” said first-year horticulture student Olly Weston, who sent in the picture.
The 18-year-old is studying at Suffolk New College and works at Chantry Park as part of his course.
“I saw loads of crows, walked over and was shocked at what I saw. I couldn’t believe it.
“It had been perfectly skinned. Its legs were missing and it just had its head and ribs remaining. It was very weird.”
When Olly walked back home at around 3pm he discovered it was gone.
“I couldn’t see any drag marks in the grass,” he added. “I don’t know what happened to it or where it went. It’s a mystery.”
But according to one deer expert, it could have been killed and left there by a human.
Dave Goffin, of the British Deer Society, said: “Doubtless other animals may have been at the remains but I am led to the conclusion that it was placed in the area by a human after it had been dealt with at another location. Why anybody should wish to deposit a carcass in a public place in this manner is anybody’s guess.
“I am curious that the head remains intact and appears to be in reasonable condition. Often if the remains had been predated upon, part of the head would show signs of this activity and the eye appears intact.
“Most striking is the total lack of debris in the form of hair, skin, internal digestive organs, or associated bones – particularly those of legs. They would normally be found nearby.”
Professor Stephen Harris, a mammal expert at Bristol University, added: “It could have been hit by a car before other animals took advantage of the carcass.
“Foxes chew the ribs for bone marrow, and next come scavenging birds such as corvids and buzzards.
“As the body decomposes, birds and mammals use hairs as nesting material. When the bones are clean, they are chewed for calcium by rodents, deer and rabbits.”