Plants and Animals

Deer Oh Deer – A Baby That Fits In the Palm Of Your Hand

April 26, 2014 | by Stephen Luntz

Photo credit: Bioparc Fuengirola. The new born mouse deer with its mother in front

This newborn Java mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus) weighs just 100g but it has a big responsibility on its tiny shoulders – to ensure the survival of this possibly endangered but epically cute species.

Ten species of mouse deer survive, nine of them in South and South-East Asia Weighing just 1-2kg when fully grown the Javan Mouse Deer are the smallest of the aritocdactyla, a group of mammals that extends in size all the way up to the hippopotamuses and giraffes.
 
Deforestation of much of the area, principally to make space for palm oil plantations is pushing some of these species to the brink, leading to captive breeding programs such as the one at Bioparc Fuengirola where this baby was born. It is the park's eighth. In total there are 43 Java mouse deer all species, in Europe, a park spokesperson told El Pais.  However, it has been a good month  for the species, with another born at Newquay Zoo last week.
 
Owing to its small size, nocturnal behaviour and the relatively recent splitting of the genus into species International Union for the Conservation of Nature has classified the T javanicus as “Data Deficient” indicating they cannot reach a conclusion on how endangered it may be.
 
Mouse deer are symbols of wisdom in their home region, and testing has confirmed their intelligence, although this has not protected them against being considered a delicacy in some areas.
 
Park rangers are waiting to identify the sex of the baby before giving it a name.