Pere Davids Deer
Pere David's Deer (Elaphurus davidianus)is a critically endangered species. The species has been extinct in the wild for nearly 800 years and can only be found in zoos, animal parks, and managed hunting ranches. The Pere David's Deer was unknown to western science until the 1860's when Pere David, a French missionary and zoologist noticed them in a Chinese Imperial Park. The Chinese Emperor agreed to send 18 animals to facilities in Europe in the 1800's. During the Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the century, the Chinese herd was exterminated, leaving the descendents of the animals in Europe as the only remaining members of the species.
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The adult male Pere David's Deer stands 5 ft high at the shoulder and weighs up to 550 pounds. The coat is a reddish tawny color. the long tail ends with a tuft. the deciduous antlers, which are found only in the male, are branched, with branches near the base and the other branches decreasing in length toward the tips. The eyes are large, the ears short and pointed. the legs are long; and the hooves are relatively long and spread apart, providing support on soft soil.
The Chinese people are actively pursuing the reintroduction of the species. The Woburn Abbey in Great Britain, provided the Chinese people with sufficient animals to begin a breeding herd. In 1998, the People's Republic of China established a preserve dedicated to the reintroduction of this species.