Persian Fallow Deer

Dama mesopotamica

A dam deer grazes in a clearing at Hellabrunn Zoo. IUCN Red List endangerment category: Endangered
  • Family
    Deer (Cervidae)
  • Weight
    ♀ up to 70 kg, ♂ up to 140 kg
  • Habitat
    Mixed forests in lowlands and low-altitude mountain ranges

Exotic relative

Only a few features distinguish the Persian fallow deer from its European relative: Persian fallow deer have less palmated (fl attened) antlers, but instead have thick beams with a number of tines (points). Another clear difference is that the Persian fallow deer does not have the black stripe that runs down the middle of the European’s back.

Ein Mesopotamischer Damhirsch im Tierpark Hellabrunn.

Rescued from the brink

By the mid-20th century, the Persian fallow deer was thought to be extinct due to excessive hunting. But in 1955 a small population was discovered in southwestern Iran. All Persian fallow deer living in zoos today are descended from this population. Conservation efforts and the reintroduction into the wild of animals bred in zoos now protect this species from total extinction.

The Persian fallow deer sheds its massive antlers after the rut. It then begins to grow new ones a few months later. The shape varies slightly when regrown each year.