Niue, Swiss Wildlife Red Deer, $2 Coin, 2015, Silver, MINT
The Red Deer is the largest ungulate in the Swiss National Park. In the middle of the 19th century these magnificent animals had been eradicated from the region. 50 years later they reappeared. The two principal factors which draw Red Deer to the National Park are tranquillity and food. Restriction of visitors to a network of well-defined paths keeps disturbance to a minimum. Around 2000 Red Deer remain in the Park, but only during the five summer months. After the rut in mid-October they leave the Park and migrate to the sunny slopes of the main valleys of the Engadine and Vinschgau.
The rutting period in September and Otober is one of the highlights of the Swiss National Park. During the rut fierce fights take place between stags claiming their hinds. The so-called “master” stags vigourously defend their harems against “intruders”.These fights often cause injury or, more rarely, death. The winner is usually the fitter of the two stags, not necessarily the one with the most impressive antlers. It is not uncommon for a stag to lose one or other of its antlers during a fight, which subsequently puts him at a disadvantage to his opponent. The stags pursue the rutting hinds until such time as they permit them to mount. It is the hind that determines the selection of a mating partner, as well as the time.