Persian Fallow Deer

(Dama mesopotamica)


Persian Fallow Deer IUCN ENDANGERED (EN)


Facts about this animal

The Persian fallow deer is somewhat larger than the European fallow deer. The short smooth coat is overall a reddish-brown to ochre colour, with numerous prominent white spots spread randomly about the body. A band of white spots along the lower part of the body demarcates the range of the spots, while two rows of spots, or some cases a solid white line, run alongside the darker dorsal line. The undersides, including the neck, chin and jowls are white, as is the muzzle.


The antlers of the Mesopotamian fallow deer, carried only by the males, have thick beams with many tines. Unlike the European fallow deer, they do not have a large, flat "palm" on the upper part of their antlers.

The Persian fallow deer previously occurred in North Africa from the Tunisian border to the Red Sea and in Asia from Syria and Jordan ro Iraq and western Iran, but was hunted to extinction over most of its range, with the advent of modern firearms having accelerating this process. By 1951 it was thought to have become extinct, but in 1955 a limited number were found in a dense forested region in Iran, near the border with Iraq, from where Georg von Opel, the founder of Opel Zoo, and later the Nature Conservatio Authorties of Israel were able to obtain a few specimens, which formed the nucleus of today’s zoo population.

Did you know?
that the Persian fallow deer is listed in the Book of Deuteronomy (14:5) among the seven species of non domesticated ungulates that the Children of Israel were permitted to eat?


Name (Scientific) Dama mesopotamica
Name (English) Persian Fallow Deer
Name (French) Daim de MĂ©sopotamie
Name (German) Mesopotamischer Damhirsch
Name (Spanish) Dama pérsico
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Eyal Bartov



Range Iran, Irak, Israel
Habitat Deciduous woodland with open patches
Wild population Approx. < 100 (1998)
Zoo population 149 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Persian Fallow 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.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Eyal Bartov

Why do zoos keep this animal

Persian fallow deer are highly endangered, therefore zoos keep them for the purposes of conservation breeding programmes. A reintroduction programme is being undertaken in Israel by Jerusalem Zoo.