Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Monday, 13 July 2009 12:04 UK

'Whistling' deer spark searches

Sika deer
Sika deer were introduced to the UK in the 1800s

A mountain rescue team called out twice to investigate shrill whistling suspect it was the call of deer and not walkers in distress.

Members of the public raised the alarm after hearing what they believed to be the sound of emergency whistles being blown.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team made two separate fruitless searches.

New team leader John Stevenson said wildlife experts advised that it may have been the call of sika stags.

The animals make the whistling sound as a warning and during mating season, which runs from September to November.

Raspberry noises

Sika are also known to make raspberry noises.

In the first call-out last week, the mountain rescue team and a search and rescue helicopter spent six hours searching Glen Nevis after a family raised the alarm.

The team searched the same area for a further two hours the following night.

Mr Stevenson said: "On the second night we did hear a whistling noise and we thought it was some kind of bird.

"Later, local wildlife people told us that sika deer can make this sort of whistling type noises."

Sika deer were introduced from Asia to parks in the UK in 1860, but escapees have established themselves in the countryside.

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