We normally think of Bunnies at Easter and Reindeer at Christmas. But on April 12, a Reindeer named Bunny at the Brookfield Zoo delivered a fawn just a few days before Easter.
This is the first Reindeer birth at the zoo since 1980. Bunny and the sire, Karl, arrived at the Brookfield Zoo in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
The male fawn weighed about seven pounds at birth, but is expected to grow rapidly, fueled by his mothers’ rich milk. Within just one hour of birth, the fawn was up and walking. A one-day-old Reindeer fawn can outrun a human.
Reindeer are pregnant for six-and-a-half to eight months. Fawns are born with dark fur that acts as camouflage and absorbs heat from the sun, an important feature for a species that lives in cold climates. By the time the fawn is a few months old, it will shed its dark fur as lighter-colored fur grows in. Little antler buds will also begin to develop in a few months. In most Reindeer populations, both sexes grow antlers.
Reindeer, called Caribou in North America, live in Norway, Finland, Siberia, Greenland, Alaska, Canada, and a few other locations. However, herds have been reported to be smaller in size than usual. This apparent decline has been linked to climate change. There are 14 subspecies of Reindeer, including two that have gone extinct. Reindeer are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.