The UAE's Al Ain Zoo is celebrating the birth of a newborn Chital Axis Deer. Born the week of March 19, the Chital calf is now on exhibit. These deer are renowned for their beautiful reddish-brown coats with white spots and their large, three-pronged antlers.
While native to the dense semi-evergreen forests and open grasslands of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and India, Chital deer have also been successfully introduced to Texas, Hawaii and Queensland Australia. They are primarily grazers, feeding on short, sprouting grasses.
In the early 20th century there were substantial declines and local extinctions, driven by hunting for meat, extermination as an agricultural pest, and habitat conversion. Thanks to protected areas and their tendency to be prolific breeders, the Chital is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.