Pere David's Deer ( Elaphurus davidianus )
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Originally Pere Davidís deer comes from the northern parts of China. But as the rice-areas had been enlarged, deer lost their natural territory. Therefore the deer became extinct in the wild. Fortunately there was a private herd, which had been maintained by the Chinese Emperors outside Peking. At the end of the 19th century the French missionary Pere Armand David discovered this private herd and bribed the guards to give him 2 skins of this beautiful animal. Consequently he sent these skins to Paris for identification. This is how this deer gets its name.
As the time passed by, remaining animals in China were killed by hungry soldiers during several civil wars. And therefore the only herd remained in England and was built up by the Duke of Berdford. Animals from this herd have been sent to many zoos in the world as well as to China in order to re-establish the herds.
Elaphurus davidianus is about 1.15 meters long (46 inches) and has got dark brown fur. Males weigh approximately 250 kg (540 lb) and females 140 kg (301 lb). It inhabits swamp areas, where it feeds mainly on grass. Breeding occurs from late April till August depending on weather conditions. Its lifespan is approximately above 20 years.