Twycross Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a male Michie’s tufted deer.
Born on 13 July 2017, this is the first offspring for parents Fatima and Mitch. This latest addition highlights the success of the zoo’s breeding programmes. These breeding programmes help zoos around the world maintaining genetically healthy populations of animals, which could eventually act as a safety net for the threatened species in the wild. Visitors are welcomed to visit Twycross Zoo to see the baby deer exploring his new surroundings, whilst his parents attentively supervise him!
Michie’s tufted deer is a subspecies of the tufted deer which are native to a small area of south-eastern China. It is a small deer species with a brown coat, a bright white flash of fur under their tail and a prominent tuft of black hair on their forehead. The species’ close relative, the muntjac which also originates from China, can be found across the south of England as they were introduced to the UK by the Duke of Bedford in the early 20th century. Michie’s tufted deer is usually a solitary species and generally most active at dawn and dusk and thus they are difficult to see. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists Michie’s tufted deer as Near Threatened because the species is over-hunted in parts of Asia.
Mother Fatima arrived at Twycross Zoo from Berlin in 2016 whilst father Mitch was born in the zoo in 2014. The mating season for Tufted deer is late autumn and winter and the male will usually bark loudly to attract the attention of nearby females. Much like the zoo’s newcomer, Michie’s tufted deer fawns are usually born in the summer and can stand up very quickly after birth. Although Fatima and Mitch are first time parents, they have taken very well to the new member of their family, both sitting with the fawn in the den and carefully watching over him.
Yianna Cooling, Large Mammals Team leader says, “We are delighted to welcome another healthy baby at Twycross Zoo. The little fawn is faring very well and is keen to explore his home. As it is a Near Threatened species, it is important to maintain a healthy population of these animals in zoos across the world and we are proud to watch the baby doing so well. While the fawn looks very cute now, within a year or two we will see him grow prominent, tusk-like, canines in the upper jaw, which mature males use for fighting during the mating season or during territorial disputes.”
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