White-Lipped are Back!
2017 was a quiet year on the new-arrivals front, however we were delighted to welcome back White Lipped Deer to the collection in October, with the arrival of yearling males Delamere (‘Del’) and Rodney from RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. Since 2009, we have worked alongside RZSS as the only other UK holders of White Lipped Deer, which are considered a ‘Vulnerable’ species having declined throughout their Tibetan range due to habitat degradation and over-exploitation for meat, antlers and various organs used in traditional medicines. Both collections have had breeding success in recent years in contributing to the conservation breeding programme currently in place for the species, as well as raising awareness for their wild counterparts. Our first-born calf, Buzz, remained with us until December 2016, when he moved to Highland Wildlife Park to succeed Del and Rodney’s father, Andy (formerly of SDC), as the park’s primary breeding male. As a result of the move, we had a ten-month period without White Lipped Deer in the collection.When new boys Del and Rodney arrived with us months ago, they quickly made themselves at home in the viewpoint enclosure and established strong relationships with our single Bactrian Deer, Ghost, who shares their enclosure. Rodney is the larger and bolder of the two, and loves a bit of antler-sparring with Ghost, whereas Del –who was partly hand-reared –can be a little quieter and is more easily pushed around by his two herd-mates, although is a laid back boy nevertheless who isn’t fazed by much. The boys won’t have their second birthdays until May, so have a bit of maturing still to do, and we are looking forward to seeing how their characters develop from here on. Del and Rodney will now remain with us as part of an all-male holding collection until further recommendations are made for them within the breeding programme.