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June 25, 2019

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Newborn river deer are feeding well and on show

Four river deer born at the Shanghai Zoo are now on display.

The first was born on June 9 and was the first creature the zoo has welcomed since its new display area featuring animals once indigenous to Shanghai and east China opened in late April. 

Another one was born to the same mother on June 10 and two more to another mother on June 14.

The kids are three males and one female, and all are in good health.

The newborns weighed about 1 kilogram each upon birth, with a shoulder height of about 20 centimeters. 

The fastest-growing one has gained about 1,000 grams since birth and grows about 100 grams daily. After one to two weeks, they started eating grass or feed and are now foraging for themselves.

They like hiding behind bushes or hills, and visitors need to be careful not to miss them, the zoo operator said. 

River deer, which favor wetlands, are native to East Asia. It is a second-class nationally protected animal in China. They were seen in Shanghai as early as in the Neolithic period. In the late 19th century, they were still common in Qingpu and Fengxian districts. 

However, changes to the natural environment and human activities meant they were virtually extinct in Shanghai in the 20th century, the zoo said.

The city began to reintroduce the animal in 2006 and their population is steadily growing. Now, more than 300 river deer live in the city at six spots such as the Huaxia Park and Binjiang Forest Park in the Pudong New Area.


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