Pere David's Deer
Your purchase is helping Expedition Art and Saving Species purchase land in Sumatra! Learn more about the project.
Historically, Pere David’s deer were found in the lowlands of China’s swampy areas and reed-covered marshlands. Today they survive in the wild in two national parks: Beijing Milu Park and the Dafeng Milu Natural Reserve. This species can also be found in captivity in many zoos around the world.
Unlike many deer species, the Pere David's deer is very fond of water. They swim and wade up to their shoulders in the water for several hours. They are very social and live in large groups except before and after the breeding season, or 'rut', in June. At these times males will leave the herd to feed intensively and build up strength, and before the rut, females will bunch together in several groups. Then a male Pere David’s deer joins each group of females and engages in fights with rival males using its antlers, teeth and forelegs. The deer that wins dominance is then able to mate with the females.
Their average life span is about 18 years.
Pere David’s deer are herbivores. Their diet consists mainly of grasses, but during the summer they supplement it with water plants.
Almost driven to extinction, this deer now only survives in captivity. As of ten years ago, the population of Père David's deer was up to around 2000.
Pere David’s deer traditional name is ‘sze pu shiang,’ which means ‘none of the four’—as this animal has hoofs like a cow, antlers like a deer, a tail like a donkey and the neck of a camel—but it doesn’t look like any of them.
Why are they Endangered?
The Père David's deer can only be found in captivity, they are officially extinct in the wild. As of the 19th century they were completely extinct, however after a few surfaced from being illegally transported, they have since been re-introduced as of the 1980s.
Extinct in the Wild