Père David's Deer (Elaphurus davidianus) - Wiki
Père David's Deer
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[Photo] Pere David's Deer, Elaphurus davidianus. Source: Mostly Mammals. Date: 1903. Author: Richard Lydekker. License: public domain.
Père David's Deer (Elaphurus davidianus,) Milu in Chinese (???鹿), is a species of deer known only in captivity. It prefers marshland, and is believed to be native to the subtropics. It grazes on a mixture of grass and water plants.
Adults weigh 150-200 kg (330-440 pounds). They have a nine-month gestation period, and one or two fawns are born at a time. They reach maturity at about 14 months, and have been known to reach the age of 23 years.
Père David's Deer has a long tail, wide hooves, and branched antlers. Adults have summer coats that are bright red with a dark dorsal stripe, and dark gray winter coats. The fawns are spotted.
Besides the Chinese official name Milu (???鹿), a Chinese nickname name (四不象, pinyin: s?? b?? xi??ng), and in Japanese: 四不像 (shifuzou): translates as "four unlikes," because the animal has been described as having "the hoofs of a cow but not a cow, the head of a horse but not a horse, the antlers of a deer but not a deer, the body of a donkey but not a donkey." Several other sources claim "sibuxiang" to have different meanings: "the nose of a cow but not a cow, the antlers of a deer but not a deer, the body of a donkey but not a donkey, tail of a horse but not a horse"; "the tail of a donkey, the head of a horse, the hoofs of a cow, the antlers of a deer"; "the neck of a camel, the hoofs of a cow, the tail of a donkey, the antlers of a deer"; "the antlers of a deer, the head of a horse and the body of a cow". By this name, this undomesticated animal entered Chinese mythology as the mount of Jiang Ziya in the Ming novel Fengshen Yanyi, or "Investiture of the Gods."
This species of deer was first made known to Western science in the 19th century, by Father Armand David, a French missionary working in China. At the time, the only surviving herd was in a preserve belonging to the Chinese emperor. The last herd of P??re David's Deer that remained in China were eaten by Western and Japanese troops that were present at the time of the Boxer Rebellion.
After Father David publicized their existence, a few animals were given to European countries, and bred there. After the remaining population in China was extirpated, the remaining deer in Europe were gathered to England and bred for the preservation of the species. The current population stems from this herd. These deer are now found in zoos around the world, and two herds of P??re David's Deer were reintroduced to Nan Haizi Milu Park, Beijing, and Dafeng Reserve, Jiangsu Province, China in the late 1980s. The animals do not appear to have suffered from a genetic bottleneck because of their small population size, apparently because their population was greatly reduced in the past and harmful recessive alleles had already been eliminated.
When they were last assessed for the IUCN Red List (1996), they are classified as "critically endangered" in the wild, under criteria D: "[wild] population estimated to number less than 50 mature individuals".
Sasha Baron Cohen, the famous British commedian (star of Da Ali G Show & the film [Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borat:_Cultural_Learnings_of_America_for_Make_Benefit_Glorious_Nation_of_Kazakhstan) visited the Serengeti Ranch in London Texas where owner and proprietor Greg Gordon stated that in the previous year they had killed a Pere David's deer. He goes on to affirm that this is the animal now extinct in China. A series of anti-semetic remarks by Gordon (encouraged by Cohen), which was viewed widely across the internet, certainly didn't help Gordon's case. Within a few years Greg Gordon would pass away and his wife would transform the hunting ranch into a bead & breakfast and animal reserve. As of 2007, the ranch (with all its facilities and wildlife) can be found listed on online real estate listings, and is advertised again as a hunting ranch. It is unclear whether more Pere David deer live at the ranch, or if or how one was brought to it for the supposed hunt.
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