Sunday 20 August 2017

Chester Zoo's tiny Philippine mouse deer the first to be born in the UK

The rare Philippine mouse deer has been born in the UK for the first time, at Chester Zoo (Chester Zoo/PA)
The rare Philippine mouse deer has been born in the UK for the first time, at Chester Zoo (Chester Zoo/PA)

A tiny deer with a body about the size of a Christmas bauble has been born in the UK.

The female youngster, born at Chester Zoo to parents Rita and Ramos, is the first Philippine mouse deer to be born in the country.

The zoo's curator of mammals Tim Rowlands said: "Our newborn deer is incredibly small - similar in size to a Christmas bauble on tiny little legs, weighing just 430 grams.

"But, while this new arrival may be small in stature, it's big in terms of importance. It's the very first time the animal has been bred in the UK and to break new ground like this with a mammal species is really quite rare.

"The Philippine mouse deer is an endangered species.

"It's highly threatened by massive deforestation in South East Asia and so it's great news that our newcomer will add valuable new bloodlines to the conservation breeding programme in zoos. It's vitally important that we work to ensure these wonderful animals do not disappear for good."

The animals are also poached for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in parts of the Philippines.

The newborn is the latest addition to a special European-wide endangered species breeding programme, designed in response to the deforestation of its Asian habitat.

Chester Zoo is only one of only seven institutions in the whole of Europe to care for the species.

Press Association

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