Callum the Stag Tragically Euthanized After Tourists Fed Him Human Food

The stag lost most of his teeth because of his human fueled diet.

Lauren Wellbank - Author

Jun. 25 2024, Published 12:25 p.m. ET

Callum the Stag posing and eating
Source: ascotseyeview/TikTok, tashatours/TikTok

Sad news comes out of Torridon, Scotland, where authorities say Callum the Stag had to be put down after a diet of human food caused him to develop health problems. While the exact details surrounding his condition at the time of his death weren't revealed, it sounds like he had become unable to forage for food as a result of ingesting the processed foods.

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Callum's story highlights why it's so important for humans to avoid direct interaction with wildlife, especially when it comes to feeding them. Continue reading to learn more about the Instagram-famous stag.

Callum the Stag eats food from a woman's car
Source: elizadymna/TikTok
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Why was Callum the Stag put down?

Sadly, The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) told NDTV that the well-known stag had to be euthanized because he had lost the majority of his teeth as a result of eating human food over the years.

The food — which included items like croissants, Doritos, and Rice Krispies as well as healthier options like carrots — eventually led to severe tooth decay, preventing Callum from being able to find food on his own during the winter months when generous visitors may have been more scarce.

According to the organization, while upsetting, vets told them that euthanizing the stag was the most humane approach to dealing with Callum's condition.

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Where could you see Callum?

Before his death, Callum was a fixture in Torridon's Beinn Eighe car park, which is located along a well-traveled scenic route on North 500. Andrew Grant McKenzie, a Highland historian, addressed Callum's tragic health decline while speaking with NDTV about the news, saying that the stag had become somewhat of a local legend.

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"The issue of people feeding wildlife is one that comes up regularly across the Highlands and Callum's popularity should serve as a way of communicating the message that we must be careful with our interaction with the natural world," he cautioned. 

Callum was a bit of a draw for tourists and locals alike. All you have to do is search his name on TikTok and many videos of the stag will immediately appear. 

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Sadly, they almost all include footage of people offering Callum something to eat as they pass through, including one woman's clip that shows the stag happily eating Doritos out of her hand. The woman jokes in the video that Callum even passed on the healthier carrots she had offered him in favor of what she called the "spicy" snack.

While the footage is charming, it should stand as a reminder of how even the best intentions can end tragically for wildlife when they're exposed to human food and germs. Hopefully, future visitors to the Highlands remember Callum's story and McKenzie's words of caution, and they think twice before interacting with any other local animals in this way.

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