Sunday 18 February 2018

Big welcome for tiny baby deer

A baby pudu, the world's smallest species of deer, has been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens (Bristol Zoo Gardens/PA)
A baby pudu, the world's smallest species of deer, has been born at Bristol Zoo Gardens (Bristol Zoo Gardens/PA)

A baby from the world's smallest species of deer has been born at a British zoo - weighing just two pounds.

The pudu, which is now 12 days old, is part of an international conservation breeding programme to protect the vulnerable species.

Pudu fawns have distinctive white spotted markings on their backs to help camouflage them from predators.

Lynsey Bugg, assistant curator for mammals at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: "It's early days so we don't yet know whether the fawn is male or female.

"It enjoys hiding in shrubs and undergrowth, always opting for a quiet and secluded spot to settle.

"This is the first baby to this particular adult male and female and it'll stay here for the foreseeable future.

"Over the coming weeks we expect to see the fawn becoming more confident and venturing out into the paddock."

Pudus, classified as a vulnerable species, live in lowland temperate rainforests in Chile and south-western Argentina.

Numbers have declined due to their rainforest habitat being destroyed and cleared for cattle ranching and other human developments, as well as natural predators such as pumas and foxes.

Pudus are the world's smallest species of deer. They stand at 15 inches at the shoulder when fully grown and weigh between 20lb and 33lb. A male's antlers only grow to four inches long.

Press Association

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