Chattanooga Times Free Press

Memphis Zoo welcomes baby deer of rare species

- BY CORINNE S KENNEDY

MEMPHIS — Considered extinct in the wild, the Memphis Zoo welcomed a baby Pere David’s Deer last month. The zoo is one of a handful of U.S. zoos that houses the rare species.

The male fawn was born at the zoo on March 27 amid severe storms passing through the MidSouth. Due to his arrival in the midst of the wild weather, zoo staff gave the fawn the name Gale.

Gale, born to mother, Piper, and father, Freddie, is the second Pere David’s Deer born at the zoo in the past two years.

“Gale is doing well and getting to know the other members of his herd, including his sister April, who just turned one year old this month,” zoo staff said Wednesday. “His favorite thing to do is snuggle up in his pile of hay and watch the ducks splash in the pond in his exhibit.”

The fawn is outside in his habitat daily for zoo visitors to see.

The Internatio­nal Union for Conservati­on of Nature still classifies the deer species as extinct in the wild. According to the IUCN, the species is native to China and lived in grasslands and wetlands.

The deer are named after a French missionary who discovered one of the last wild herds of the deer at a park in China in 1865, the Memphis Zoo said. He sent several of the deer to zoos in Europe and the wild herd was later wiped out by a flood.

Pere David’s Deers currently live in zoos and several wildlife reserves around the world. Conservati­onists started reintroduc­ing the species into the wild in China in 1985.

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