Belfast Zoo keepers have said ‘hello deer’ to a new arrival as one of their Southern Pudu has given birth!
The latest arrival was born to father, Mr Tumnus, and mother, Susan, on June 18.
The Southern Pudu originates from the lowland forests of Southern Chile and Southwest Argentina and is the smallest member of the deer family! Adults measure only 43 centimeters in height when fully grown and, at birth, a fawn is so small that it weighs less than a bag of sugar.
Senior keeper, Allan Galway, said “Although small in size, our fawn is massively important to Belfast Zoo and to the European breeding programme for the Southern Pudu. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers this species to be vulnerable to the threat of extinction and numbers in the wild have dramatically declined in recent years due to loss of habitat through deforestation, hunting and predation.”
Allan continued, “We have been giving Susan and her new arrival some space to bond, so have not yet determined the sex of the new arrival or given the fawn a name. When fawns are born they are a light brown color, and their fur is covered with small white spots. This helps the infant to camouflage in the undergrowth especially when they are left alone while the mother feeds.”
Belfast Zoo’s Southern Pudu family share their home with some other South American “amigos” including: Southern Screamers and Red Howler Monkeys.
Belfast Zoo visitors can now experience a new reptile and amphibian house. Summer visitors can also witness daily feeding times, a new visitor photography base camp, the Adventurers’ Learning Centre and can visit all the latest zoo babies.