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Friday, January 30, 2009

Pere David's Deer is Now a Critically Endangered Species

critically endangered species, endangered animal, Pere David's Deer, rare animal, extinct animal, extinct species, Pere David's Deer, animal news of animals, news animals in newsThis piece was flashed by the National Geographic News team on October 6, 2008. Its all about the extinction crisis that continues to affect adversely the flora and fauna of the planet, according to the new Red List of Threatened Species. the threat level is on a continuous and wanton rise and has sparked a sparked a Dow Jones-like index of endangered species, that has been skilfully designed to spot out the some threatened species before it's too late. Despite the inevitable comparisons to the U.S. economic crisis, there's still no full proved plan in sight for threatened animals, said the naturalists and experts. The Pere David's deer, which is a native to China, has been named for a French missionary and has fallen in the list species listed as "extinct in the wild" on 2008 International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN's) Red List of Threatened Species. The author of the report said that amongst almost 45,000 species evaluated for the new list, 38% are almost in the verge of extinction. Unfortunately the Pere David's deer has been included in that 38%! The study showed that at least 76 mammals have already went extinct since 1500, while the good news about Pere David's deer is that the effort on the conservation and captive breeding program of this variety of deer have done a bit well in the recent year! This has raised the light of hopes for recovery of the species from being absolute extinction. Now the question is, what this Red List actually is? IUCN director general, Julia Marton-Lefèvre said that the Red List is an annual "health check of the planet". The endangered species that comprise the list has been categorized into eight groups: starting from "least concern" (which are low risk of extinction) to "critically endangered species" (which are in extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in near future). For the first time in 2008, the health assessment was done for every single known amphibian, mammal, and even birds.

"If you look ahead a hundred years to our grandchildren and great grandchildren, how are they going to measure whether we were successful in our conservation efforts?" Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International, asked a briefing at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona.

Here's a bit about the Pere David's deer - some facts:
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The original habitat is of the Pere David's deer is swampy, reed-covered marshlands of northeastern and east-central China. Unlike the other varieties of deers the Pere David's deer are very much find of water and are also good swimmers, along side a good grazer! It thrives chiefly on grass, and supplements it with water plants during summer. A fully matured Pere David's deer (reaches maturity at about 14 months) gathers weight about 150 - 200 kg (330 - 440 lb). Since the last 1000 years it seems to be in a gradual process of extinction in the wild, although captive breeding program have helped regaining the population level a bit.

April - May is the birth season, the birth rate is 2 fawns maximum at a time. The gestation period is 9 months long! Life expectancy in captivity is 23 years.

Current status as revealed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN):
  • 1960's: Rare
  • 1994: Endangered
  • 1996: Critically Endangered; (Criteria: D1)
  • 2000 - 2004: Critically Endangered (Criteria: D) (IUCN 2004)
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