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Père David’s Deer

Camel & Zebra

Did You Know?

  • Père David’s deer are named after the French missionary who brought several to Europe, saving the species when the game preserve the rest lived in was wiped out.
  • They are comfortable in water, with webbed toes that help them swim. They eat aquatic plants.
  • Unlike other deer, Père David’s deer have antlers with a front branch that’s as large or larger than the rear-pointing branch.

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Scientific Name: Elaphurus davidianus

Class: Mammals

Diet: Grass, reeds, and bushes

Range: Eastern China

Endangered Status: Extinct in the Wild

More Information

Père David’s deer are medium-sized deer with stocky frames. They are about 6–7 feet long and 4 feet tall at the shoulder. Called milu in their native range, the deer tolerate cold, seasonally flooded conditions well. They live in single-sex herds and mate from June to August. After a nine- or ten-month gestation period, one fawn is born. Fawns reach maturity at around 2 years old.

Hunted into extinction in the wild well over a century ago, the deer existed in just one imperial preserve in Beijing by the mid-19th century. Unfortunately, that was destroyed by warfare and flooding a few decades later.

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