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Persian Fallow Deer

Iran Nature and Wildlife Magazine

Phylum : Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Genus: Cervus
Species: C. dama
Sub Species: C. d. mesopotamica

Characteristics : Males have long, broad, flattened antlers. Body length is between 150-240 cm, tail is 16-20 cm, shoulder height is between 85-110 cm and weight is 50-130 kg. males' horns begin to grow after one year, however, antlers show after two years. Horns are shed every winter but grow back immediately and by summer, the growth is complete. Coat colouring is fawnish brown, with the back being light brown and the sides paler, almost a creamish colour. White spots are seen on the back and sides of the body.Tail and rump are white. Mating takes place in late August; after about eight months the female gives birth to one young in early Spring (twins are rare).

Habitat & Distribution: The present habitats of the Persian Fallow Deer are the warm regions of South West Iran and the dense forests of khouzestan and Zagros regions, where a natural population can be seen. Its original distribution in the past included West and South West Iran extending to North East Africa and from the South of Europe up to Balkan. A number of these species were introduced to Ashk Island in Oroumieh Lake and Dashte-e-Naz in Mazandaran to breed and thrive. The Persian Fallow Deer is usually nocturnal, being most active at dawn and dusk. It is a social animal, living in herds and feeds on grass, foliage and fruit. It is a good swimmer and when in danger, it escapes fast. Male herds of older Follow deers usually form a separate group. The main natural enemies of this species are wolves and jungle cats. Factors which have led to a decrease in their numbers include habitat destruction and overhunting.