Habitat, Fertilisation, Development, Parental care
The Tufted Deer is one of the 43 species of the Cervidae family. There are three different subspecies of tufted deer; the western tufted deer, the Hubei tufted deer and the Eastern (or Michie's) tufted deer. Their life span is approximately 15 years in a zoo, but it is unknown how long a tufted deer would live in the wild.
The Western Tufted Deer lives in southern China and northeast Myanmar. They inhabit valley jungles and mountain forests and often live nearest the water. Most of the tufted deer can be found at heights of 300 to 4,750 metres.
Fertilisation and Development
Tufted deer start to reproduce by cross-fertilisation at the age of 2. The fertilisation is internal and lasts roughly six months. The amount of gametes produced by a single tufted deer is unknown because there haven't been many studies on the tufted deer's reproduction process or fertilisation period. The tufted deer use viviparity as a form of development. The egg is fertilised inside the doe's body and is born alive. After roughly a six months (175-185 days) long gestation period a deer or two will be born. The fawns are born usually in late spring or early summer. The deer are born and raised near water. An advantage of being near water at all times would be that they don't have to go far for a drink. A disadvantage would be that some predators may also live near the river or stay near the water, which means that the tufted deer would be easy pickings.
The tufted deer are k-selection creatures. They can reproduce more than once in their life time and they care for their fawns for a long period of time. The fawns are usually born quite large and a lot of the mothers' energy is used on giving birth. The number of eggs that are produced is only one or two. Many fawns die from predators and weather conditions. There is usually a great deal of care for the fawns because the would need to be taught the dangers of the area that they are in. They would also need to learn where things are and good places to go. At the age of about six months the little fawns become independent and no longer need their mothers guidance.
The amount of tufted deer in the world is unknown. The species have been put on the 'Near Threatened' list. It is guessed that there is between 300,000 to 500,000 left in China alone. There have been many camera's set up in Myanmar to try and capture a video of the deer. Mostly these attempts have failed to locate any of the species. The mortality rate for the tufted deer is quite high because many of the people hunting for these rare animals.
Tufted deer tend to stay in the same area for all their lives. They walk the same tracks and have defined territories. Many snares are placed along these paths to trap the deer and keep them in place until the hunters come for them. The tufted deer are slowly being wiped out because more and more hunters are figuring out their patterns and favourite places.
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from Arkive: http://www.arkive.org/tufted-deer/elaphodus
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Woodland Park Zoo: http://www.zoo.org/page.aspx?pid=1910