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Oh deer! Memphis Zoo announces birth of rare Pere David’s Deer fawn, classified extinct in the wild

Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 12:00 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis Zoo is celebrating the birth of a rare Pere David’s Deer fawn.

Gale, meaning strong storm, was born at the zoo March 27 to parents Piper and Freddie as a big storm made its way into Memphis.

He’s the second Pere David’s Deer born at the Memphis Zoo in the last two years, and only a handful of U.S. zoos are home to the species that is currently classified as Extinct in the Wild, according to the IUCN Red List.

“...we at the Memphis Zoo are honored to bring awareness to this precious animal,” reads Gale’s birth announcement.

Gale, a rare Pere David's Deer fawn, was born at the Memphis Zoo March 27, 2021.  The species...
Gale, a rare Pere David's Deer fawn, was born at the Memphis Zoo March 27, 2021. The species is classified as extinct in the wild.(Memphis Zoo)

The zoo says Gale is doing well and getting to know other members of his herd, including sister April who turned a year old this month. Gale enjoys snuggling up on his pile of hay, watching the ducks splash in the pond in his exhibit. He’s outside daily and ready for visitors.

According to the zoo, Pere David’s Deer only survive in a handful of zoos and reserves worldwide, but conservationists are reintroducing them back into the wild, working to build a sustainable population to bring them out of their extinct status.

Gale, a rare Pere David's Deer fawn, was born at the Memphis Zoo March 27, 2021.  The species...
Gale, a rare Pere David's Deer fawn, was born at the Memphis Zoo March 27, 2021. The species is classified as extinct in the wild.(Memphis Zoo)

The deer are named after French missionary Father Armand David. Pere means father in French. The zoo says David found the last herd of these deer in a Chinese park in 1865 and sent several to European zoos before flooding destroyed the remainder of the herd.

The European deer flourished and the species was reintroduced to China in 1985, according to the zoo. The Chinese call this deer “sze pu shiang,” meaning “none of the four” in reference to the species’ unique appearance with the neck of a camel, the hooves of a cow, the tail of a donkey and the antlers of a deer.

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