Threatening flood peak forces rare deer to relocate

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 6, 2012
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The survival of several herds of the rare Pere David's deer has been threatened as record flood peaks have submerged their habitat near Dongting Lake in central China's Hunan province.

At least three herds of Pere David's deer, with 55 to 65 deer in each herd, were forced to relocate from their habitat near the lake, China's second-largest freshwater lake, according to the management bureau of the lake's national-level nature reserve.

These herds are now China's largest natural domesticated group of Pere David's deer, with growing populations and an expanding habitat.

Since early July, the water level of Dongting Lake has risen as continuous rains have hit the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River and other major rivers that serve as water sources for the lake.

The rising water submerged the grasslands and mudflats, which are the deer's habitat and feeding grounds, forcing the rare animal to move to nearby villages with dense human populations.

These Pere David's deer have run into farmlands, surprised villagers and destroyed rice, vegetable and watermelon crops, among others, around the harvesting season, said local villagers.

As no compensation was offered to cover the losses caused by the roaming deer, villagers drove the deer away. This also greatly threatened the lives of these deer, they said.

A skinny female Pere David's deer was rescued after it was found floating in the lake on July 26. It has recovered following medical treatment and good care.

The management bureau of the lake reserve has sent professionals to rescue injured deer and educated local residents on protecting the rare animal.




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