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Rare Bukhara deer born at RZSS High­land Wildlife Park

pub­lished 10 July 2016 | mod­i­fied 10 July 2016

Bukhara red deer calfKeep­ers at RZSS High­land Wildlife Park have recently wel­comed a rare Bukhara deer fawn to its herd in the Cairn­gorms. The male fawn was born at the begin­ning of June.

The Wildlife Park is home to the only breed­ing herd of Bukhara deer (Cervus ela­phus yarkan­den­sis for­merly listed as C.e.bactrianus) in the UK and cur­rently has a small herd of six ani­mals. This deer species is an endan­gered sub-​species of the red deer, threat­ened by habi­tat degra­da­tion, log­ging and poaching.

Bukhara deer were once at the brink of extinc­tion, but as a result of cap­tive pop­u­la­tions and suc­cess­ful rein­tro­duc­tions back into the wild, this species is once again thriv­ing in its native habi­tat. This is why the birth of this young calf is so sig­nif­i­cant, as he will go on to help bol­ster the cap­tive pop­u­la­tion of this rare deer species.
Morag Stel­lar, Head Hoofed Stock Keeper, RZSS High­land Wildlife Park, Scotland »

The young fawn is doing well and is already grow­ing quickly. Whilst he may still be small, he has no prob­lems keep­ing up with his mother and the rest of the herd, as deer are always quick to get to their feet and run after birth,” said Stellar.

Red deer (Cervus ela­phus) as a species is con­sid­ered Least Con­cern accord­ing the IUCN Red List of Threat­ened Species™, due to a wide cir­cum­po­lar dis­tri­b­u­tion and pre­sumed large pop­u­la­tions. Nonethe­less there are some sub-​species, espe­cially those on the Asian con­ti­nent, in a more dire sit­u­a­tion due to poach­ing (e.g. antler vel­vet and other body parts for tra­di­tional med­i­cines) and habi­tat decline (destruc­tion and pres­sure from pas­toral­ism). The Bukhara deer sub-​species is also listed in the CITES Appen­dix II.

Bukhara deer are related to red deer and Amer­i­can elk and are native to cen­tral Asia, found in Tajik­istan, Uzbek­istan, Turk­menistan, Kaza­khstan and pos­si­bly Afghanistan. Bukhara deer were once one of the most threat­ened mam­mal species after pop­u­la­tions and range started to dimin­ish greatly in the 1970s and 1980. By 1998 to 1999 only 350 deer were left in the wild; how­ever, as a result of con­ser­va­tion efforts to rein­tro­duce this species and to restore their nat­ural habi­tat, Bukhara deer now num­ber over 1,400 ani­mals in the wild. Whilst the rein­tro­duc­tion of this deer has been suc­cess­ful, their pop­u­la­tion num­bers are still low, which is why the cap­tive breed­ing of Bukhara deer remains impor­tant to their survival.

Reset­tle­ment Bukhara deer and wild boars in Tasmuryn:

(Source: Pro­huntkz Mer­gen YouTube channel)

A Mem­o­ran­dum of Under­stand­ing (MoU) con­cern­ing con­ser­va­tion and restora­tion of the Bukhara deer (Cervus ela­phus yarkan­den­sis) was devel­oped and became effec­tive on 16 May 2002. It was devel­oped under the aus­pices of the Con­ven­tion on Migra­tory Species in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Cen­tral Asia Pro­gramme of the WWF Rus­sia. The MoU area cur­rently cov­ers four range states in Cen­tral Asia: Kaza­khstan, Tajik­istan, Turk­menistan and Uzbek­istan. While Afghanistan is recog­nised as an addi­tional range state of Bukhara deer, but it has not signed the MoU yet.

(Source: RZSS press release, 28.06.2016; IUCN Red List of Threat­ened Species™; Con­ven­tion on the Con­ser­va­tion of Migra­tory Species of Wild Ani­malsweb­site)

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