Deer

World's Smallest Deer Born in Sweden

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Photo credit: Tom Svensson / Nordens Ark

On April 30th, Nordens Ark in Sweden welcomed a pint sized baby, a male Southern Pudu. It is the sixth fawn born at the zoo since it began housing and breeding the species eight years ago in an effort to help conserve this tiny South American deer species. The little boy has been spending his days in an enclosure with his parents for visitors to see. You can get a glimpse of the little guy in the video below!

 

Pudu, native to South America, are known for being the smallest species of deer measuring under a foot and a half tall and around 25 pounds. They are separated into two subspecies, the Northern Pudu and the Southern Pudu. The southern variety can be found on the slopes of the Southern Andes at elevations up to 6,600 feet.  They live in temperate rain forests, using their small size to help them take cover in undergrowth to avoid predators. They live on a herbivorous diet that includes a wide range of different types of plant matter. 

Both subspecies of Pudu are classified as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to overhunting and habitat loss. Zoos around the world are helping to conserve this species through captive breeding programs and re-introduction efforts. 

 


Lumi the Snow-White Reindeer Born at Vienna Zoo

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Named for the word “snow” in Finnish, Lumi the female Reindeer calf was born on April 25 at Austria’s Vienna Zoo.  Only minutes after the 11-pound (5 kg) calf was delivered by female Reindeer Helmi, Lumi stood up on her thin and wobbly legs.

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Photo Credits: Norbert Potensky

  

According to Zoo Director Dagmar Schratter, “Reindeer live in the barren expanses of the Arctic tundra and taiga. Females and young animals have to move on a few days after birth to seek new pastures with the herd.”

Vienna Zoo’s Reindeer herd includes five adult females and one male named Hank.  With Lumi’s birth, Hank has become a father for the fifth time.  Lumi is the second calf born to Helmi.

Unlike other members of the deer family, where only the males have antlers, both male and female Reindeer have antlers.  Little Lumi will begin to grow her antlers when she is about seven months old.

Reindeer are widespread across extreme northern North America and Eurasia, but many herds are shrinking in numbers, possibly due to climate change and habitat disturbance.

See more photos of Lumi below the fold.

Continue reading "Lumi the Snow-White Reindeer Born at Vienna Zoo" »


Little Brocket Deer Arrives at Gladys Porter Zoo

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A male Red Brocket Deer was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas on March 25.  Barely over two weeks old, the little fawn is already actively exploring the exhibit alongside his mother.

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Photo Credit:  Gladys Porter Zoo

All Brocket Deer are small, but at about 30 inches tall at the shoulders, Red Brocket Deer are the largest of the ten Brocket species found in Central and South America.  Because these diminutive Deer are shy and secretive, not much is known about their habits, and there is some confusion about the taxonomy of the 10 species.  At this time, there is not enough data about the Red Brocket Deer to evaluate its conservation status.

Browsing on leaves and fruit, Red Brocket Deer inhabit dense forests and live solitary lives.  Males competing for mates will fight, using their short horns to inflict injury on their opponent. 

See more photos below the fold.

Continue reading "Little Brocket Deer Arrives at Gladys Porter Zoo" »


Miniature Muntjac Born in the Netherlands

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Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands has been keeping mighty busy lately. In addition to their hundredth year anniversary, which they celebrated just yesterday on March 30th, and the three Warthogs born last month that we reported on HERE just last week, they have just announced the recent birth of a tiny Muntjac.

Muntjacs are known to be the oldest species of deer. There is evidence of their existence dating back between 15 and 35 million years from fossils that have been discovered in modern France, Germany and Poland. Today, Muntjacs are native to Southeast Asia. Interestingly, in the early part of the twentieth century, a group of Muntjacs escaped from Woburn Safari Park in England and the species was able to survive and thrive in this European environment. Today, a large and sustainable population of Muntjacs descended from these escapees exist in England. It is though that they will soon become the most numerous deer species in the nation. 

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Photo credit: Burgers' Zoo


Meet Chester Zoo's Brow Antlered Deer Fawn!

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Chester Zoo recently welcomed a Brow Antlered Deer fawn named Zeyar, which means "success" in Burmese. Unfortunately the mother rejected her calf, but Zeyar is flourishing under the care of her surrrogate deer-mother Hellen Massey (shown in photos with the fawn at sixteen days old). Born a tiny 3.7 kilograms, Zeyar gets bottle-fed four times a day and is growing in leaps and bounds. Chester Zoo is the only zoo in the UK breeding this endangered species, making Zeyar a great success story for deer conservation.

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Photo credits: Chester Zoo

Zeyar belongs to a subspecies of Brow Antlered Deer native to Burma, where they live in grassy plains, swamps and deciduous forests. Brow Antlered Deer are also known as Eld's Deer or Thamin. The most serious threat to the species is poaching for bushmeat, traditional medicines and trophy antlers.


Tiny Muntjac Fawn Born at Red River Zoo

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The Red River Zoo in Fargo, ND announced the birth of a Muntjac fawn (pronounced munt- jack). The little female was born on February 24, to mom Jasmine. This Saturday, March 2, she weighed in at just 1 pound 10 ounces (.49 kg).

Native to Northern China, Northern Russia, Mongolia and Tibet, Muntjac Deer are among the oldest of the deer family - there's evidence of their existence from as far back as 15 to 35 million years ago! This exotic animal is also among the smallest; the average adult weighs only about 25 pounds (11.33 kgs). The males do have antlers and tusks which they use to fight for territory. 

The Red River Zoo has successfully bred Muntjac to help create greater genetic diversity for the captive population in North America. Jasmine has given birth to several other healthy fawns, all female. Once old enough, the offspring are sent to other zoos to help those breeding programs. This baby is now on exhibit with her mom in the zoo's Rotary Wings over Asia Aviary.

Photo Credit: Red River Zoo


Two Little Reindeer Born at Prague Zoo

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Prague's Zoo Praha has two new baby reindeer, a boy and a girl. The male was born on Friday the 13th and the female came along about three days later. They went out in the zoo's large paddock for visitors to see for the first time on April 20. The mothers can be seen with their babies following closely behind them.  The father of both is Mirda, who himself was born in Prague Zoo.

Their large, broad hooves spread apart to form a nearly circular print and help them navigate the soft ground that covers much of the tundra in which they live in the wild. They also aid in digging for food under the snow. 

Reindeer are a species of deer found in the far northern areas of arctic Europe, Asia, and North America extending onto the tundra above the tree-line. They are called Caribou in America. Domesticated for thousands of years, they were mainly used as beasts of burden and farmed for milk, meat and their hides, reindeer have been the economic basis of the Lapp culture. Today they are raised in many areas of the world outside of their native arctic.

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Photo Credit: Tomáš Adamec, Zoo Praha


Al Ain Zoo Welcomes a Baby Chital Deer

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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.

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Photo Credit: Al Ain Zoo


What's a Muntjac?

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A Muntjac, sometimes called a Barking Deer, is the oldest known species of deer. The Muntjac first appeared some 15 to 35 million years ago in Germany, France, and Poland, but its current range is South Asia including Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Japan, India and Indonesia. A.J. Haverkamp photographed this baby Muntjac at Amsterdam's Artis Zoo just days ago.

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Photo credits: A.J. Haverkamp


Meet Pequeño, Belfast's Newest Baby Pudu

Pequeño, the Southern pudu baby at Belfast Zoo

In early April the Belfast Zoo welcomed a Southern Pudu baby, the aptly named "Pequeño!"  The smallest member of the deer family, the Southern Pudu measures only 17 inches (43 centimeters) in adulthood. That's one tiny deer! At birth the fawn was so small that it was the same weight as a pint of milk! Zoo manager, Mark Challis, is delighted with the newest arrival “Southern Pudus are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild so the birth of the fawn is extremely important.  Southern Pudus originate from the dense lowland forests of South Chile and South-west Argentina and as Spanish is the native language we have named the fawn, ‘Pequeño’ which means small.”

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Currently there are just 70 pudu kept in European zoo’s, the European breeding programme is managed by zoologists in Wuppertal Zoo. This recent addition brings the total number of Southern Pudus at Belfast Zoo to four! Visitors can easily spot Pequeño as fawns have white spots, which provide camouflage.