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City reintroduces Chinese water deer for eco-tourism

SHANGHAI plans to reintroduce Chinese water deer and create habitats for the animal to proliferate. Zoologists are currently studying a dozen spots including Chongming Dongtan, the Century Park and Sheshan Hill as the deer's sanctuaries.
Right now 227 Chinese water deer are living in the Binjiang Forest Park and Huaxia Park in Pudong, the Xinbang Forest in Songjiang, and two other parks.
Five years ago, professors of East China Normal University brought 21 Chinese water deer from Zhoushan islands off Zhejiang Province and raised them in the Huaxia Park in a repopulation program after the species disappeared from Shanghai for many decades.
Chinese water deer are indigenous to the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and like to inhabit the land alongside rivers. They are good swimmers and are very shy and alert. Overhunting has put them on the verge of extinction.
The program conductors set the animals free in the five parks to let them get used to the city's environment and recover their natural instincts.
"It is not easy to restore their population in the city as some have been killed by poachers or have drowned in the beginning of our program," said Chen Min, the program initiator and associate professor of the university.
Shanghai has established good habitats for wild animals and experts called for reintroduction of Chinese water deer to develop eco-tourism.


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