Eld's Deer

(Cervus eldii)




Facts about this animal

The Eld's deer is a long-legged, long-bodied, medium-sized deer with a lyre-shaped pair of large antlers, and large, spreadable hooves. The head-body length is about 180 cm, the height is 105-115 cm. The antlers grow up to a length of about 100 cm (along the beam). Males weight about 70-100 kg, females about 40-70 kg. Females are smaller and more lightly built than males.


The ears are medium sized, wide but not pointed, and well-haired on the inner surface. The coat hair is smooth and thin with hardly any underfur. The uneven length of hairs produces a somewhat shaggy appearance. The colour of the summer coat is fawnish red on the upper parts with some pale spots near the middle line of the back. The under parts are pale brown. There is some white on the chin, around the eyes and margins of the ears. The Winter coat is uniformly dark brown above and whitish underneath. Females are slightly paler at all seasons. The antlers were shed from end of June to early September, and are free of velvet by December of early January.

Did you know?
that the Keibul Lamjao National Park, covering a total of 40.5 sq.km with a core zone area of 15 sq.km. is the last natural habitat of the Eld's deer in India? This National Park is mostly made up of biomass floating on the Greater Loktak Lake. It is for this reason that the park has often been termed as the 'only floating national park in the world'.


Name (Scientific) Cervus eldii
Name (English) Eld's Deer
Name (French) Cerf d'Eld
Name (German) Leierhirsch, Thamin
Name (Spanish) Ciervo de Eld
Local names India (Manipur): Sangai
Burmese: Tamin
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Southeast Asia
Habitat Open grassy plains, swamps and deciduous forests in the vicinity of water
Wild population Unknown, but decreasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 377 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Eld's Deer


How this animal should be transported

Hard antlers should be removed before transport under proper restraint and, where required, sedation. No deer with antlers in velvet at a stage of growth which could be damaged easily should be transported where there is a risk of injury.

For air transport, Container Note 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations, should be followed.


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The Eld's deer is a vulnerable species. In the hope of being able to develop and maintain long-term viable ex situ reserve populations of all three subspecies, an International Studbook was established in 1966. As of today, reasonably large breeding populations of the subspecies thamin exist in North America and Europe, while the other subspecies are restricted to their range countries.


Eld's deer become quite tame and, like other relatively small deer species are suitable for walk-thru exhibits allowing for close encounters with the visitors.