Eld’s Deer – Panolia eldii
The Eld’s Deer is a medium sized deer. A full grown male can weigh about 380 pounds and have an antler spread of 39 inches. The antlers don’t grow very high but they do get very wide. The females are about 275 pounds when they are fully grown. They have a very graceful design to them including a slender body and long legs that are very thin. Don’t let that fool you though as those legs are also considered to be extremely powerful.
They feature a brownish red color to them in the summer months and more of a dusty gray in the winter time. The males also tend to have darker coloring than the females.
Eld’s Deer Distribution
Almost all of the Eld’s Deer are found in areas of Asia. They are also found in India and Thailand. Some are also found in areas of Vietnam. They love the marshlands where they can be well hidden in the thick tall reeds and grasses. They can also be found on hilly embankments.
Eld’s Deer Behavior
They tend to form herds that can range from very small with only about 4 members all the way up to those that have about 50 of them. In areas where food is hard to find they will be in the smallest groups possible. They are social animals though so they do need to be around others. Even the males will be loosely connected to a group instead of a loner as is the case with most species of deer.
Eld’s Deer Feeding
Grass is the main part of their diet. During different seasons they will also feed on the various types of fruits that develop. They don’t seem to mind feeding on the dead vegetation which can be found around them. In fact, if they didn’t eat it they would have a drastically lower population than they already do.
Eld’s Deer Reproduction
They are ready to mate when they are about two years of age. The rut is from February until May so during that period of time the males are very aggressive towards each other. Some studies have shown that the presence of males triggers ovarian function in females.
The young are born about 240 days after conception occurs. They will be well hidden by the mother for about 6 weeks and then they will move along with her and join the herd. They will be nursed for about 7 months. When they are about a year old they will leave their mothers.
Eld’s Deer Conservation
Since 1990 conservation efforts have been in place for the Eld’s Deer. They were listed as endangered at that time and that status hasn’t gone either direction since. The diverse conditions of their natural habitat seem to have the most impact on their numbers. When you see their size of population over the span of 200 years ago you can see we still have a long way to go to save them.
Although the Eld’s deer meat is tough to chew, they are widely hunted as food, for their antlers and for traditional medicinal trade in Cambodia and Vietnam.
Finding enough food can be stressful for the Eld’s Deer though as their natural environment gets smaller. Villagers continue to grow in population so they need more room for their living quarters and to be able to produce foods for survival. It is estimated that only about 2,200 of them remain in the wild. There are about 1,300 of them in captivity in various locations.
(Photo taken by Karelj)