A deer hunter today claimed these pictures could prove the Exmoor Emperor is still alive.
The 9ft tall, 21-stone stag – believed to be Britain’s largest wild animal – has not been seen since locals reported he had been gunned down earlier this month.
But wildlife experts have taken to the hills around Exmoor to try and trace the beast after farmers claimed reports of his death were a ”myth” to ward off poachers.
Wildlife tracker Dave Webb has been running deer safari on Exmoor for five years and has seen the Emperor multiple times over the years.
Dave searched for the giant stag from dawn until dusk in the hills around Winsford today and believes his efforts could have paid off.
He said: ”The stag in the picture could indeed be the Emperor. The space between his antlers is very similar to that of the Emperor.
”There are a few large stag around the area at the moment and it is possible that someone shot one of those and not the Emporer.
”The only way you would be able to confirm whether it was him or not would be to look at his antlers.
”Unfortunately, the photograph was taken too far away to tell for sure but it could be possible.
”I would like to see it closer up and face on to tell if it was definitely him.”
The Emporer disappeared more than two weeks ago in Rackenford, north Devon, and despite reports the beast is still roaming the moor, it has not been officially seen since.
I am absolutely convinced I saw the Emperor on Saturday. I drove from Dunster back to Exeter via Tiverton on the A396. Roughly in the Winsford area a stag jumped out in front of me and crossed the road. I had never heard of the ‘Emperor’ until I told family and friends about this massive stag I had just seen. I am not at all familiar with this road or area and had been sent out of area. The stag I saw was easily 9ft tall.