Baby reindeer adds a little Sparkle

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Ken Ellcome with Jean and Allan Thompson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Unsung heroes who have contributed to Portsmouth are honoured by prime minister

Have your say

IT IS one of the rarest sights in England.

So when Helen Strange and her husband David woke up to find a baby reindeer in their field, it came as quite a shock.

NEW ARRIVAL Baby reindeer Sparkle with her mum Ivy. Picture: Paul Jacobs  (131190-2)

NEW ARRIVAL Baby reindeer Sparkle with her mum Ivy. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131190-2)

Unknown to the couple, who own Keydell Nurseries in Horndean, their pet reindeer Ivy was pregnant when they bought her and had given birth to a calf who they think is a boy.

Sparkle, who is white, is a few days old but has survived the crucial 48 hours when most reindeer offspring die.

Helen looks after the reindeer, which are a popular sight at the nurseries over Christmas.

She thinks Sparkle will be a great addition to the family.

She said: ‘We could not believe it when we went to feed the reindeer one morning and saw Sparkle in the field.

‘At first I thought he was a white paper bag.

‘We have the vets come out every so often to check on them and even they didn’t know she was pregnant so we didn’t have even the slightest clue.

‘Ivy has been great and is doing everything she should and the other reindeer are staying away like they would in the wild.

‘It’s so hard to breed reindeers in captivity so we are over the moon that he has made it past the first two days.

‘We have only had them since October so you can imagine our surprise when this little one appeared.

‘But he will be wonderful for Keydell at Christmas.’

Helen and David also own two other female reindeer, Holly and Tinsel, and 19 donkeys who also make an appearance in Keydell Nurseries at Christmas.

Helen added: ‘The reindeer are harder to look after than the donkeys because they do not like the heat in England.

‘But they have got shady spots and they seem to be happy here.’

The rareness of reindeer calves being born in England was made apparent in 2010 when a reindeer gave birth in Cornwall.

Blue, named after a bluebell field, was thought to be the first reindeer born in England since the last ice age.