Sambar Deer (Cervus unicolor)
The sambar were once occurred in a variety of habitats but are now mainly confined to primary and mature secondary forests due to hunting pressure. Crepuscular (i.e. active at morning and dusk) and nocturnal in habit, they are most easily spotted at the forest margins where they feed on young grass shoots. They frequent natural salt licks, particularly adult males who need minerals to promote growth of their antlers.
Male sambar are among the largest of Southeast Asia's deer, with a head-body length of up to 2 metres and weighing up to 260 kg. The fur is brown to grey-brown, the tail dark and the underside of the tail and rump area whitish. The antlers of the male usually have three tines (points). In addition to grass shoots they feed on vines and fallen fruits. Herds are small with up to 4 individuals and a single fawn is born after a gestation period of 8 months.
The species ranges from India, Sri Lanka and Nepal through Burma, southern China and Indochina, to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. They are extinct in Singapore.