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Animal Info - Pere David's Deer

(Other Names: 麋鹿, Cerf du Père David, Ciervo del Padre David, Père David's Deer)

Elaphurus davidianus

Status: Critically Endangered


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Age to Maturity, Gestation Period, Birth Season, Birth Rate, Maximum Age, Diet, Behavior)
5. References


Profile

Pictures: Pere David's Deer #1 (15 Kb) and Pere David's Deer #2 (70 Kb) (Les Cerfs); Pere David's Deer #3 (66 Kb JPEG) (Czech Web Site)

The Pere David's deer weighs 150 - 200 kg (330 - 440 lb). Its original habitat is thought to have been swampy, reed-covered marshlands. It is a grazer, eating mainly grass which it supplements with water plants in the summer. Unlike most deer, the Pere David's deer likes water and swims well.

The Pere David's deer originally occurred in northeastern and east-central China, but it apparently became extinct in the wild at least 1000 years ago. Hunting is thought to have been the main reason for the original decline of the wild Pere David's deer. It survived in parks, and in the 1800's a French missionary and naturalist, Father ("Pere" in French) David, observed the animals in the last remaining Chinese herd. Word of this aroused great interest in Europe, and subsequent efforts resulted in a number of these animals being sent to Europe. The remaining deer in China ultimately perished in the early 1900's, mostly due to floods and the unrest during the Boxer Rebellion. In the late 1980's, a number of deer were returned to China and re-introduced to the wild in China's Dafeng reserve. They have successfully reproduced.


Tidbits

*** Although the species is recovering from a very small population, it appears that it is not suffering from the serious genetic defects that can sometimes affect small populations.


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

Countries Where Pere David's Deer Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in China (re-introduced) (IUCN 2004).

Population Estimates:

[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]

History of Distribution:

The Pere David's deer originally occurred in northeastern and east-central China, but it apparently became extinct in the wild at least 1000 years ago. It survived in parks, and in the 1800's a French missionary and naturalist, Father ("Pere" in French) David, observed the animals in the last remaining Chinese herd. Word of this aroused great interest in Europe, and subsequent efforts resulted in a number of these animals being sent to Europe. The remaining deer in China ultimately perished in the early 1900's, mostly due to floods and the unrest during the Boxer Rebellion. As a result, all surviving animals descend from the captive deer sent to Europe. In the late 1980's, a number of deer were returned to China and re-introduced to the wild in China's Dafeng reserve. They have successfully reproduced.

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

Hunting is thought to have been the main reason for the original decline of the wild Pere David's deer.


Data on Biology and Ecology

Weight:

The Pere David's deer weighs 150 - 200 kg (330 - 440 lb).

Habitat:

The Pere David's deer's original habitat is thought to have been swampy, reed-covered marshlands.

Age to Maturity:

About 14 months.

Gestation Period:

About 9 months.

Birth Season:

April or May.

Birth Rate:

1 or 2 fawns are born at a time.

Maximum Age:

At least 23 years (in captivity).

Diet:

The Pere David's deer is a grazer, eating mainly grass which it supplements with water plants in the summer.

Behavior:

Unlike most deer, the Pere David's deer likes water and swims well.


References

Burton & Pearson 1987, Caughley & Gunn 1996, Curry-Lindahl 1972, Czech Web Site, Focus 1997c, Huffman 1999, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Les Cerfs, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Oryx 1988d, WCMC/WWF 1997


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Last modified: May 30, 2005;

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