5 Feb 2018

The tiny Philippine spotted deer fawn recently made her first public appearance, alongside proud parents Tala and Bulan.

Our new arrival – a species listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list – is the latest to be born to an acclaimed conservation breeding programme. This vital programme was set up at the request of the Philippine government – and is working to ensure a healthy and genetically viable back-up population of the animals in Europe.

Conservation experts fear that fewer than 2,500 Philippine spotted deers now remain in the wild. Sadly, the species can now only be found in forests on the islands of Panay and Negros after becoming extinct on several islands in the Philippines, mainly due to intensive hunting and deforestation.Also known as the Visayan spotted deer, our zoo conservationists have been supporting efforts to protect and restore the deers’ habitat in the Philippines for more than 10 years, where they have also helped to establish specialist breeding centres. As well as conservation breeding for future reintroductions, these centres are vital hubs for training, research and education and for increasing awareness of the species amongst local communities.

Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, said:

Every Philippine spotted deer birth is very special indeed. Globally, this is a species that is under severe threat, pushed to the very brink by a rapidly expanding human population and increasing levels of illegal poaching and habitat destruction. We won’t stand back and let a beautiful animal like this simply disappear forever though. The zoo is, crucially, fighting to protect the Philippine spotted deer in its homeland, while the arrival of this calf is another significant and important step in the conservation of the species and for the back-up population in Europe. With every new arrival we are able to gather more and more vital information.Mum Tala has done a fabulous job up to now and her fawn is looking strong, with a fantastic healthy coat featuring prominent white spots and striking blue eyes. We’re ever so pleased with her.

To discover more about our conservation work in South East Asia, head over to our Act for Wildlife website.