In the spotlight: Eld’s Deer

In the spotlight: Eld’s Deer

Monday, 29 August 2016
In the spotlight: Eld’s Deer

There are roughly fifty species of deer in the world. These species are spread across Europe, Asia, the Americas, and a very small region of North Africa, where red deer can be found. Eld’s deer is a species from southeast Asia and the subspecies found at the Royal Burgers’ Zoo, called the Burmese brown-antlered deer, originally comes from Myanmar.

Four species

There a four species of deer in total at the Burgers’ Zoo. In the Burgers’ Rimba, these are the muntjacs, the Indian hog deer, and the Eld’s deer. These deer species are found in the forests, grasslands, and sometimes even the swamps of Asia. In Arnhem, they share their quarters with southern pig-tailed macaques, siamangs, and bantengs. The fourth species of deer is located across from the entrance to the Burgers’ Rimba. This is the Finnish forest reindeer, which is native to not only Finland, but Russia as well.  


Deer are often known for their antlers. In most species, only males have antlers and this applies to Eld’s deer as well. They use these antlers to impress other deer and to drive off potential rivals. After rutting season, which runs from February to May for Eld’s deer, the males lose their antlers. As for reindeer, including the Finnish forest reindeer at Burgers’ Zoo, both males and females have antlers. However, it should be noted that the antlers of males are larger, more imposing, and just a bit heavier. Finnish forest reindeer females use their antlers primarily to compete for food during the winter.

Great at lying (down)

Eld’s deer are great at lying down. That is to say, they spend their first days of life lying motionless in the nearby overgrowth, camouflaged by their spotted fur. After about ten days or so, young Eld’s deer begin to eat grass and after roughly a month, begin following their mother. This is also the reason why the animals at the Burgers’ Zoo are returned to Burgers’ Rimba about four to five weeks after the last member of the litter has been born. The young must first be able to walk along with their mother.


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