21 Jul 2023

Chester Zoo celebrates the birth of a rare baby Southern pudu, one of the world’s smallest species of deer!

We’re excited to welcome one of the world’s smallest species of deer to the zoo – Paolo the baby Southern pudu!

The tiny male fawn weighed less than a bag of sugar (900g) at birth and stood at just a little over six inches tall. Being the smallest deer in the world, you can imagine how tiny a new born is! Our small mammal experts say he’ll only grow to around 18 inches (1.5ft) tall when fully developed.

Born to parents Serena and Oden, the baby deer is part of an international conservation breeding programme working to ensure a genetically viable insurance population in zoos to help with the long-term protection of the species.

Southern pudus are native to rainforest areas in southern Chile and south-western Argentina where they’re listed as near-threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), meaning the species could face an uncertain future. Conservationists believe the number of pudus in the wild has declined rapidly in recent decades, largely due to loss of its rainforest habitat and illegal poaching.

While they may only be tiny and have little legs, they are excellent sprinters. And what they lack in size they make up for in strategy – running in zigzag patterns to help them fend off the interest of less nimble predators.

Caroline Wright, Pudu Keeper


Caroline also says: “Pudu fawns have distinctive flecks of white fur on their backs to help with their camouflage. These fade as they get older but Paolo, at the young age he is, is very much sporting these for the time being. We’re ever so pleased with his development so far and hopefully he’ll not only help us to put a spotlight on these wonderful animals, but also go on to play his own part in the conservation breeding programme to protect the species.”

Our Zoo

This summer, experience a whole world of wonder at Chester Zoo!

24 July to 1 September

From incredible wildlife here in Chester to the vital conservation work, your support empowers around the world, we’re celebrating everything that makes our zoo a wondrous place this summer.

Find out more