The Octagon – October, 2022

Greetings to all !!  As you can see, we have photographic evidence that our esteemed President is on a well-deserved leave in Scotland, having arrived in the UK in time to lay a wreath in Hyde Park on Monday the 19th of September.

When the Kath’s away, the mith will play

On Saturday, September 3rd. we hosted the second part of the Musical Entertainment program, compliments of the Federal Government.  This was a performance by the brother and sister duo, Alex and Emily MacArthur.

The Fintry Fall Fair took place on September 11th, as usual, on the Manor lawn, and once again we were treated to the performances of the Kalamalka Highlanders and the Vernon Girls Trumpet Band. The Fair had considerable competition this year, as it was close to the end of the IPE in Armstrong, and on the same week-end there was a two day fair in Salmon Arm.  In the coming year we will be adjusting our dates so that our last fair of the year will take place before the Labour Day week-end, when a significant change in visitor attendance takes place.

Kudos to BC Parks for the much- improved parking arrangement close to the Barn Complex. Here the big introductory sign created by Jan Waldon has stood for twenty years, and has now been re-located, cleaned and fitted with a new piece of Plexiglas.  Thanks to the assistance of BC Parks Ranger, Isaac Gilbert and Chris Thorsteinsson of Kelowna, the removal and re-installation of the sign was  a smooth move. Thanks also to Jason Satterthwaite and son Aiden for repairing the removable railing section at the Manor that enables part of the veranda to become a stage for music etc. during the Fairs.

On September 20th, our Curator gave the first of the season’s Brown Bag Lecture Series at the Penticton Museum.   ” Queen Nefertiti: Egypt’s Beautiful Enigma”  was illustrated by slides and Fintry’s own Berlin Museum replica of the famous portrait.

Now, a quick peek into the animal world of the Trophy Room.

In the southwest corner of the Trophy Room is the mounted head of a male Muntjac deer, a specimen that always gets attention, particularly of children. They ask about the “deer with fangs”, correctly noticing the apparent contradiction of an herbivore with teeth more often associated with a carnivore.  There are perhaps 121 species of Muntjac deer, all natives of Southeast Asia.  Two of these have only relatively recently been discovered in the forests of Vietnam (1984 and 1997).

Muntjac deer, Fintry collections

The specimen at Fintry is Reeve’s Muntjac, from southern China and Taiwan.  Also known as the “Barking Deer” from the fact that they make loud barking noises when alarmed or when they need to communicate with each other in dark and thickly-forested areas.

There are several other species of deer in the same geographical area that share the unusual feature of very visible fangs.  Biologists are not always forthcoming with confidence when asked to explain the development of these teeth, but there is agreement that the males of these species are aggressively territorial, and use their teeth in battles with rivals.  They have also been seen to use the teeth to strip the bark off small trees to get access to the sap.  Reeve’s Muntjac has been introduced to England and parts of Ireland, where they have become somewhat of a pest.  Adept at fence-crawling, these small deer can penetrate a well-guarded vegetable garden after dark, leaving a shambles to greet the gardener in the morning. 

The Musk Deer is another of the “fanged deer” of Southeast Asia.  The males of that species have a gland that secretes a waxy substance that is used in the making of high quality perfumes and soap, as well as playing a leading role in traditional Chinese medicine.  It is said to be the most expensive animal product in the world, with a quoted price in 1985 of $45,000 per Kg.  It is surprising that the Musk Deer is still not extinct. 

Dan Bruce, Curator

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

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