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Keepers Step in to Hand Rear Little Pudu Fawn

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Scarlet the Pudu fawn at Edinburgh Zoo has been keeping her keepers busy with around the clock bottle feeds.

The newborn Southern Pudu sadly lost her mother at two and a half weeks, but her dedicated keepers stepped in to hand-rear the tiny fawn. Hoofstock keeper,Liah Etemad, said: “Sadly Scarlet lost her mother at a really young age after birth exasperated an underlying untreatable condition. It was touch and go for a while for the fawn as she was being mother reared, but her keeper’s have worked around the clock to nourish and nurture the little fawn and she is doing so well now.

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“Scarlet started on seven to eight bottled feeds of milk each day, getting her first feed early in the morning, throughout the day and then into the early hours. She is steadily gaining weight each day. During the first week after mum died she was cared for solely by her keepers, but then at four weeks she was reintroduced to her dad Normski. We were all delighted how well it went and the two were soon cuddled up together in the evenings and he maintains a watchful eye over her during the day. The fact she and her father have bonded so well means that he is teaching her natural Pudu behaviour."

“It has taken a lot of time and commitment from keepers, and at seven weeks old we are still giving her a small number of bottles during the day, but we could not be happier to see little Scarlet thrive. She has done so well that visitors are able to see her with dad at our Pudu enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo.”

Southern Pudus are normally found in southern Chile and south-western Argentina and are actually the world’s smallest deer. When fully grown they stand only at 38cm high and weigh around 9 to 15kg. Adults are reddish to dark brown and fawns have spots until they are a few months old. Females tend to give birth to a single fawn weighing around 1kg, which is weaned at around two months. Pudu are classified as a vulnerable species as their numbers have declined due to their primary rainforest habitat being destroyed and cleared for cattle ranching and other human developments.