If you are deep in the tropical rainforest of Southeast Asia, you may come across a type of dark brown deer with a longhorn. If you are in surviving mode in the wild, congratulations, finding them means finding a water source.
The Sambar Deer, a type of deer with strong tolerance to environmental changes, is on the verge of extinction due to human hunting.
Best Deer Swimmer
The Sambar Deer has a strong dependence on water. They like water very much and generally live near the water source. They are good at swimming. They use “water baths” to lower their body temperature after vigorous activities. The Sambar Deer prefer tender aquatic plants, followed by the young tree leaves, before the grass. People often find them in wetlands, shrubs and similar areas.
Adapt Well and Appreciate Freedom
Sambar Deer has very strong adaptability. As long as there are suitable water sources nearby, the Sambar Deer can survive in any forest, grassland, canyon or mountain. They mainly inhabit broad-leaved forests, savannahs and grasslands between 300 to 3,500 meters above sea level. Once they feel that the current habitat is no longer suitable, they will immediately take a trip to find another suitable habitat. They will not stay in one place all the time.
With A Strong and Brave Personality
The Sambar Deer is the largest deer in tropical and subtropical regions. The male deer have long and thick three-tined antlers, which can be up to 1 meter long. Due to its dark brown body colour, it is also known as a “Black Deer” in some other regions. However, the female deer is slightly reddish in colour. The dark brown midline at the back, from the neck to the tail, is one of the distinctive features of the Sambar Deer. This huge animal with similar to a lion’s mane is also one of the bravest deer. When encountering predators, it does not run away like other deer. Instead, it often chases them away.
Slow in Breeding Even with Frequent Mating
The breeding period of the Sambar Deer is flexible, and it can mate every month. However, the reproductive capacity of the Sambar Deer is relatively weak. Female deer need 6 to 8 months to conceive. Each pregnancy can only give birth to one baby deer, and rarely have twins. It takes two years to nurture these baby deers. During this period, they have to pay attention to tigers, crocodiles and other predators. A little carelessness may put the baby in danger.
Their Economic Value Put Them In Danger
The fur of the Sambar Deer has high economic value. All its body parts are known for traditional medicine. The antlers on its head are highly valuable. Therefore, it is often hunted by people. According to the IUCN Red List, the Sambar Deer is a vulnerable species. Due to its wide distribution, their total number cannot be estimated accurately. The severity varies in different regions. In Southeast Asia, their number has decreased by more than 50%.
Written by Zhang Yuming (INTI International University)