Friday, May 18, 2012

A Bit of Lippy for the Highland Girls

Earlier this week, the Highland Wildlife Park’s herd of female white-lipped deer welcomed a male. 

Bachelor Andy, a five year old male, also waited patiently to be introduced to his harem of three females for 30 days before the introductions took place earlier this week.  Originally born in Berlin, the only boy joins the Park from an all-male deer group at the Scottish Deer Centre in Fife.  So far this young male seems to be settling in well to a life surrounded by females in the Highlands.

White-lipped deer are one of the largest species of deer, with a body around six feet in length and a height of up to four feet at the shoulder.  Their name comes from the white hair all around their muzzle.  In the wild white-lipped deer are endemic to the Tibetan Plateau, feeding mainly on the sparse grass in this harsh landscape.  These animals are much heavier in build than other deer species although they are capable of moving at high speeds when danger threatens.  Males are identifiable due to their impressive antlers.

Douglas Richardson, Animal Collection Manager at the Highland Wildlife Park, said:

“Andy has been in quarantine for the last month, and it was only on Tuesday this week that he was ready to be introduced to our female trio.  So far this has gone well, he seems comfortable and our females – Karen, Seri and Kay- appear to have accepted him into the herd, although Kay, the dominant female, gave him a bit of a hard time to begin with.

“The breeding season is in September/October, a few months away yet, so the three girls will have time to get used to the new arrival.  It will also give Andy time to get used being surrounded by females, as he joined us from a bachelor deer group.

“We have a very strong record when it comes to conservation and successful breeding at the Highland Wildlife Park, and we are hopeful that 2013 should see the first births, particularly as white-lipped deer are classed as Vulnerable by the IUCN”.

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