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Last Updated: Tuesday October 26 2010 16:16 GMT

UK's biggest wild animal stag Exmoor Emperor shot dead

A stag - NOT Exmoor Emperor, the one that has been shot dead

A giant red deer, thought to be the biggest wild land animal in Britain, has been shot dead.

The stag, which was 2.75m tall, was killed during the mating season. It's not clear who shot it but it could have been a hunter looking for a trophy.

Two shots were heard and the stag's body was seen nearby. The animal was known locally as the Exmoor Emperor.

It's not against the law to hunt and shoot deer if you have a licence and permission from whoever owns the land.

Some people are angry about the stag's death. They think hunters shouldn't be allowed to shoot deer during the mating season and the animals should be left alone to breed.

Survival

But others who support hunting reckon that older deer such as Exmoor Emperor need to be killed so that younger ones stand a better chance of survival.

It seems the legend of Exmoor Emperor could live on.

A large young stag who could be a child of the Emperor has been spotted in the past few days.