Pere David's Deer

Strange name for a deer? This unique species is named after Pere David – a French missionary and zoologist who discovered the last of the breed in the Imperial Park in Beijing in the 1800s. The Chinese Emperor agreed to send a number of animals to Europe, which flourished in captivity. More recently, in the 1980s, the Pere David’s deer was reintroduced to its native China and has bred well.

Distinct from other deer in its body shape, the Pere David’s has a long horse-like face, a long tail and wide spreading hooves to help it move through its marshy habitat. Also unusual are the male stag’s ‘back-to-front’ antlers and the fact that they sometimes grow 2 sets of antlers in a year.

Scientific name
Elaphurus davidianus
Family
Cervidae
Order
Artiodactyla
Lifespan
Up to 18 years.
Fast facts
They are very fond of water, and will wade up to shoulder height and swim.
When fighting, males not only use their antlers and teeth, but also rear up on their hind legs and box.
The Pere David’s deer is also known as a Milu.
Conservation status
Extinct in the wild