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Water deer coming back to town

THIS year Shanghai will be seeing more water deer – it's almost a century since the species disappeared completely from the city.

A pilot breeding program has been approved and the Green Planning Agency of Pudong is now planning to expand the breeding program to different areas.

Shanghai's Huaxia Park is already home to over 50 water deer but they are held in a 4,000-meter space which ideally should only cater for up to 30 of the rare animals. An official with the breeding program said that as well many of the deer were pregnant.

The agency has made preliminary arrangements with the city's Century Park, the Song Jiang region and the Waterfront Forest Park, where the water deer will be introduced in the next stage of the project. If everything goes smoothly, water deer will soon be seen in Century Park.

It is the first time in China that animals of this size have been introduced into a city. Human involvement is the key to the success, said an expert from the School of Life Science at the East China Normal University.

If the water deer program succeeds it will play a significant role in the biological diversity of Shanghai and neighboring areas.

Listed as a second-class endangered species, the Chinese water deer is the only cervid that can be found in the wild on the eastern China coast.


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