Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Andean Huemul

The Andean Huemul, or Andean Deer, is an endangered ungulate that lives in the mountains and valleys of the southern Andes.

Andean Huemuls are diurnal, and live in small family groups. They feed primarily by browsing. During the mating season males will attempt to breed with as many females as possible. The resulting fawns are a bit unique when they are born; they have no spots for camouflage, they are solidly colored. Fawns will be hidden by their mothers until they are stronger.

It is estimated that there are only 1,500 Huemul left in the wild, most of which live in Chile. Competition with introduce livestock, loss of habitat, and hunting are all causes for their decline.

The Andean Huemul is featured on the Chilean coat of arms, and is considered a national symbol. They have been protected in the country since 1929, but poaching still occurs and captive breeding has been less than successful.

IUCN Status : Endangered
Location : Argentina and Chile
Size : Height up to 35in (90cm), Weight up to 175lbs (80kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Suborder : Ruminantia -- Family : Cervidae
Genus : Hippocamelus -- Species : H. bisulcus

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