Père David's deer

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Père David's deer

(pĕr dävēdz`), Asian deer, Elaphurus davidianus, known only in a semidomesticated state. Also known as milu and elaphure, it has a bulky, donkeylike body, reaching a shoulder height of nearly 4 ft (120 cm), with a tufted tail longer than that of any other deer. It is tawny red with white underparts and a white ring around each eye. Its hooves are very broad. It has curious antlers, with irregularly branching front prongs and usually straight posterior prongs. The antlers may reach 3 ft (90 cm) in length. E. davidianus came to the attention of Westerners in 1865, when it was observed by the missionary Père Armand David in the gardens of the Chinese emperor, near Beijing. Several specimens were sent to Europe, where they flourished in captivity; those remaining in China all perished during the Boxer Uprising. After World War II, breeding stock from England was distributed to the world's zoos, and in 1960 the species was reestablished in China. The natural habitat of this deer is unknown, but it is believed to have inhabited the swampy plains of China until it was displaced by agriculture. It is classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Cervidae.


See B. Beck and C. Wemmer, The Management and Biology of an Extinct Species: Père David's Deer (1983).

References in periodicals archive ?
Endangered See the Pere David's deer at Blair Drummond
Milu (Elaphurus davidianus), also known as Pere David's Deer, is endemic to China and adapted to wetlands (Asher et al., 2009).
Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin in a Pere David's deer (Elaphurus davidianus).
Preliminary discussion of plants eaten by the Pere David's deer. Anim.
Normal haematological values of axis deer (Axis axis), Pere David's deer (Elaphurus davidianus) and barasingha (Cervus duvauceli).
Manegement of Pere David's deer at Dafeng Milu National Nature Reserve.
Trial release of Pere David's deer Elaphurus davidianusin the Dafeng Reserve, China.
Mi-Lu was one of twins believed to be the first Pere David's deer born in captivity.
The Pere David's deer is a critically-endangered species, virtually extinct in the wild.
Knowsley Safari Park has already dispatched a breeding group of 19 Pere David's deer to the Wetland Trust at Icklesham in Kent where they are settling in well on their favourite marshy ground.
Pere David's deer are originally from the swamplands of China where they were discovered in 1865 by the French missionary and explorer, Pere Armand David - hence the name.
Top of this year's breeding league has been the Pere David's deer, one of the rarest species of deer in the world.