Two deer that became stuck together when their antlers got tangled in a mixture of netting and barbed wire have been released back into the wild after a dramatic rescue by the RSPCA.
Inspectors were called after the wild mammals were spotted running around tied together in woodland near Potten End by a member of the public.
John Donnelly, 30, was passing by when he saw the stricken deer. It is thought the animals may have been attached for ‘some weeks’.
When they were eventually caught and cut free, the antlers of a third deer were found and the RSPCA suspects a third deer may have previously been attached but died.
It took two members of RSPCA staff and a member of the public nearly two hours to catch the deer and set them free.
RSPCA animal welfare officer Kate Wright said she was shocked by the discovery.
“They were well and truly attached – I have never seen anything like it,” she said.
“There’s no way they would have been able to break free of the tangle themselves and could not have survived indefinitely in that way. I’m amazed they survived as long as they did – which we think may have been quite a while.
“The fact the deer were tied together didn’t stop them being able to run pretty fast though – while jumping over obstacles and through the woodland.
“We had to run fast and pretty far to catch up with them, then it took three of us to set them free – one person on each deer to keep them still while I cut the utter tangle from their antlers.
“It was rather sinister finding the third set of antlers in the netting. I suspect from another deer which had been joined to them and died.
“Thankfully the two we found were fine, though, and happily trotted off in their separate directions once they had been freed.”
Despite being an experienced wildlife officer, Kate said it was a unique operation and praised Mr Donnelly for raising the alarm.
She added: “It was quite some rescue. We could not have done it without John, who had just happened to be passing.
“He was not only invaluable in catching the deer but we would have not have known they were there in the first place if it wasn’t for him.”
The mammals are thought to be fallow deer and they were entwined in a netting bag, which also included strands of barbed wire.
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