Mariposa County Mystery, What Is The Unusual Animal?

It's being called the "Loch Ness Monster" of Mariposa County. However, no one knows where the unusual animal came from.

KMPH and KMPH news partner, "The Mariposa Gazette," spoke with a person who saw and took pictures of the animal.

People who drive along Highway 49 in Mariposa County say they've seen something really strange. They say there's a deer hanging out around the woods, but he's not a normal deer.

"We noticed it had the strange looking antlers on it. As it came up out of the grass we saw the spots on its back and we knew there was something not normal about the deer," said Bob Ummels, who has seen the deer that looks more like a reindeer three times.

One of those times, Ummels jumped out of his car and started snapping pictures of the animal.

"Trying to tell somebody about seeing something like that, they may not believe you," Ummels said. "If you say I saw this deer with moose antlers and a goat head, they might think you've been smoking something."

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says the mystery deer is actually a European fallow deer. However, it's not native to California and no one knows where the fallow deer came from.

"Maybe the North Pole," Ummels said.

Ummels says he also thinks the fallow deer may have escaped from somewhere, because it's not afraid of people.

"I'm worried about trophy hunters coming out here to try and mount him on the wall," Ummels said.

The Mariposa County Game Warden says the fallow deer is not safe for the environment. He says the fallow deer has lice on it that local deer do not have a resistance to. The louse causes native deer to loose their hair, which weakens their immune system.