Belfast Zoo keepers have said ‘hello deer’ to the latest arrival as the world’s smallest deer, the Southern pudu, has given birth!
The latest arrival was born to father, Mr Tumnus and mother, Susan on 18 June 2017.
The Southern pudu originates from the lowland forests of South Chile and South-west Argentina and is the smallest member of the deer family! Adults measure only 43 centimetres in height when fully grown and, at birth, a fawn is so small that it weighs less than a bag of sugar.
Senior keeper, Allan Galway, said “Although small in size, our fawn is massively important to Belfast Zoo and to the European breeding programme for the Southern pudu. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers this species to be vulnerable to the threat of extinction and numbers in the wild have dramatically declined in recent years due to loss of habitat through deforestation, hunting and predation.”
Allan continues “We have been giving Susan and her new arrival some space to bond so have not yet determined the sex of the new arrival or given the fawn a name. When fawns are born they are a light brown colour and their fur is covered with small white spots. This helps the infant to camouflage in the undergrowth especially when they are left alone while the mother feeds.”
Belfast Zoo’s Southern pudu family share their home with some other South American amigos including Southern screamers and red howler monkeys!
There’s fun for all the family at Belfast Zoo this summer with the new reptile and amphibian house, daily feeding times, a new visitor photography base camp, the Adventurers’ Learning Centre and you can visit of all the latest zoo babies.