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Deer side

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced the birth of a female Reindeer, the first born to parents Tundra (mother) and Klondike (father). They welcomed the calf in the early morning hours on May 4. The newborn was immediately given the name Derby by her keepers, in honor of her birth on Derby Day (the running of the Kentucky Derby). She weighed approximately 11.5 pounds (5.2 kg) -- the largest Reindeer calf to be born at the zoo to date. Derby currently weighs 55 pounds (25 kg) and has recently been enjoying forays out in the sunny yard with the herd.

Although called by different names in North America, wild Caribou and domestic Reindeer are considered to be the same species throughout the world. They are native to the Arctic and Subarctic regions, living in the tundra and taiga, and boreal forests of North America and northern Eurasia.

Deer lawn

Deer herd

Photo Credit: Amelia Beamish / Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Reindeer migrate over great distances throughout the year, moving between calving and wintering grounds. Their migratory patterns shift according to the season and help minimize overgrazing and ensure ample food supply for the herd. Unlike others of the Deer family, both male and female Reindeer grow antlers. The antlers have a distinctive “velvet” appearance, comprised of skin, blood vessels, and soft brown fur. Each year, antlers are shed: bulls lose their antlers after the rut and females lose theirs after giving birth in the spring.

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Deer hero

“The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is excited to welcome Derby, the first Reindeer calf born at our zoo since 2002,” said Ted Fox, zoo director. “We are very pleased by this new addition, as we have been working to expand our herd.”

Derby is currently on view with her parents in the Reindeer exhibit across from Penguin Coast.