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Rare Philippine Spotted Deer Born At Chester Zoo In Conservation Win

The birth of an ultra-rare fawn provides hope for endangered species and boosts conservation efforts.

One of the world’s rarest animals has been born at Chester Zoo standing at just 30cm (0.98 foot) (11ins) tall – the same as a bottle of pop.

The ultra-rare Philippine spotted deer arrived to mom Nova and dad Cosmos at the attraction on Sept. 9 as part of a special breeding program.

The adorable fawn, which weighed 2kg at birth, has now taken his first steps outdoors in his new enclosure alongside his doting parents.

The birth is said to provide a much-needed boost to a species thought to be on the edge of existence and classed as highly endangered’ in the wild.

The tiny new arrival is part of conservation efforts between zoos in Europe – set up at the request of the Philippine government to ensure the future survival of the species.

Zookeepers have decided to name him after the constellation of stars, Hercules, in keeping with a “space” theme of naming newborn deer.

One of the world’s rarest animals has been born at Chester Zoo standing at just 30cm (0.98 foot) (11ins) tall – the same as a bottle of pop. PHOTO BY CHESTER ZOO/SWNS 

Emma Evison, team manager at the zoo, said: “After eagerly waiting 240 days for his arrival, it was a huge relief when we saw a little bundle of fur curled up next to mom Nova one morning.

“She’s a great mom and has been doing everything perfectly so far – feeding him every few hours and keeping him right by her side.

“We have a team tradition of naming newborn deer within the theme of ‘space’ and, given the importance of our new arrival to his species, we decided to name him Hercules, after the constellation of stars.

“Standing at only 30cm (0.98 foot) tall he’s still got lots of growing to do and will eventually live up to his new moniker.

“Philippine spotted deer are incredibly rare and their decline has, for the most part, flown under the radar and only a few hundred now remain in the wild.

“Every birth is therefore absolutely critical in boosting the safety-net population in conservation zoos across Europe.”

Recent estimates suggest that there could be as few as 300 Philippine spotted deer remaining in the wild.

Experts at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) say the species faces a very high chance of becoming extinct in the future.

Stuart Young, regional field program manager for South East Asian Islands at the zoo, added “Philippine spotted deer have already disappeared across many parts of the Visayan islands, where they were once found roaming in large herds.

“Hunting and deforestation has led to the animals now only being found on two small islands, the islands of Panay and Negros.

“The zoo has, for more than 20 years, funded and helped to build vital conservation breeding centers on the two islands, sharing the skills and knowledge that has been gathered by experts here at the zoo to help successfully breed this highly endangered species in its homeland.

“A result of these efforts saw 32 Philippine spotted deer safely reintroduced into a protected nature reserve in 2020.

“Since then a number of births in the wild has almost doubled the population and we’re very happy to report that they are thriving.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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