Dama dama mesopotamica

Persian Fallow Deer - Dama mesopotamica

Family:
Deer (Artiodactyla Cervidae Cervinae)
Status:
Endangered

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Taxonomic status

Scientific name

Dama mesopotamica

Common name

Persian Fallow Deer

Synonyms

Mesopotamian Fallow Deer

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Species information

Physical characteristics

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Body Length ?
Body Height ?
Tail size ?
Weight 40 - 100 kg


Persian fallow deer are bigger than Fallow Deer, their antlers are bigger and less palmated. source: Wikipedia

From an unknown source, received by e-mail:

The Persian fallow deer differ from their European counterparts in one very prominent characteristic – the European males have palmate antlers which are their 'trademark'. By contrast the Mesos have regular tines. How tis is known, not from the few animals left in Iran in the wild, after all this small nucleus represents a very small fraction of an entire population spread throughout the fertile crescent. As such, the animals existing today may just be a morph. However, there is documentation. The picture below is a mosaic floor from an old synagogue in the ancient town of Zipori in northern Galilee in Israel, dating back to the year 400 AD. In this beautiful work of art, a leopard is depicted taking down a fallow deer (as is evident by the white spots.Persian fallow deer with leopard Notice the antlers. They found shed antlers in the wild in Israel before the reintroduction started, and none of them were palmate.

Habitat, behaviour, food and reproduction

Habitat

The Persian fallow deer occupies a range of woodlands, such as tamarisk, oak and pistachio woodlands. The wild population utilizes riparian forest thickets.

Food

The Persian fallow deer is principally a grazer, with grass accounting for over 60% of its diet in summer. In the fall the proportion of fruits such as nuts increases. In the winter, the fallow deer browses on leaves, source: www.animalinfo.org.

Reproduction and Groupstructure

The Persian fallow deer lives in herds. During the breeding season the males establish territories. The rut is during August and early September, and calving at the end of March to early April, following a gestation period of approximately 229 days. Preliminary observations of the Persian fallow deer re-introduced into Israel suggested that reproductive success in the first season in the wild was low (~0.2 fawns/female/year).

Gestation Period About 229 days
Young per Birth 1, rarely two
Weaning ?
Sexual Maturity About 16 months, but males do not breed for several years
Life Span ?

 

Predation

Please add information about predation, see "add a comment" below.

Population size and trends

World population

About 365 animals are estimated to represent the world population.

Iran

The Persian fallow deer was thought to be extinct by the 1940's, but a small population of perhaps 25 animals was subsequently rediscovered in Khuzistan Province, Iran during the 1950's.
As of the mid 1990's, the total population in Iran (including captive and re-introduced animals) did not exceed 250. By 2004, the total Iranian population had increased to approximately 340 individuals. By 2008, the number of animals had increased further, though only 365 of these are pure-bred, the remainder being hybrids.

Israel

In Israel there were approximately 200 individuals in the north of the country by 2005, and around 150 in Hai Bar Carmel Reserve.

 

AreaNumbersDevelopment
World365Decreasing
Iran365Increasing
Israel200 (2005)Increasing, but hybrids with Dama dama
Israel, Hai Bar Carmel Reserve150 (2005)Increasing, but hybrids with Dama dama

Captive populations

MalesFemalesUnknownsBirths (last 12 months)
World851301733
Wilhelmina Zoo, Stuttgart81857
Tisch Family Zoological Garden, Jerusalem1838314
Tierpark Berlin - Friedrichsfelde GmbH, Berlin27
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Distribution: maps, historical and current

Countries

Interactive map

Dama mesopotamica - Persian Fallow Deer: current distribution
Source: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species


View Persian Fallow Deer - current distribution in a larger map

Further map information

Range map Dama mesopotamica

<strong><p></p> Dama mesopotamica - Persian Fallow Deer: current distribution<br/>
Source: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
<p></p></strong>

<iframe width="550" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&amp;hl=en&amp;msa=0&amp;msid=117709670845058248305.000490afe5a18d518cdd0&amp;ll=34.813803,44.472656&amp;spn=12.614612,24.169922&amp;z=5&amp;output=embed"></iframe><br /><strong><small>View <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&amp;hl=en&amp;msa=0&amp;msid=117709670845058248305.000490afe5a18d518cdd0&amp;ll=34.813803,44.472656&amp;spn=12.614612,24.169922&amp;z=5&amp;source=embed" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">Persian Fallow Deer - current distribution</a> in a larger map</small></strong>

Historical distribution

Persian Fallow Deer were introduced to Cyprus in the pre-pottery Neolithic (Cypro-PPNB), if not earlier. They occur in significant numbers at the aceramic Neolithic sites of Khirokitia, Kalavasos-Tenta, Cap Andreas Kastros, and Ais Yiorkis, and were important through the Cypriot Bronze Age. Source: Wikipedia

The Persian Fallow Deer formerly occurred in Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and eastern Turkey. It was depicted in relief artwork dated prior to the 9th century BC and in ancient times its range probably included North Africa from Tunisian border to the Red Sea. By 1875 it was restricted to southwestern and western Iran, having disappeared from the rest of its range. It was considered extinct, but a small population was rediscovered in southwestern Iran in 1956.

Current distribution

The only surviving indigenous wild populations of Persian fallow deer are in Dez Wildlife Refuge and Karkeh Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Iran (though the population in Karkeh has also been restocked with animals from the Dasht-e-Naz Wildlife Refuge).

There are re-introduced populations in Iran as follows:

  • Dasht-e-Naz Wildlife Refuge in northern Iran
  • Semeskandeh Wildlife Refuge in northern Iran
  • Ashk and Kaboudan Islands in Lake Uromiyeh (Uromiyeh National Park)
  • Miankotal enclosure in Arjan and Parishan Protected Area

All these re-introduced populations are either in enclosures or on islands. Some of the animals in Semeskandeh Wildlife Refuge are hybrids with Dama dama, although the hybrids and pure-bred animals are maintained in separate populations.

Introductions to Shiri, Lavan, Kish Islands in the Persian Gulf were probably not successful.

In Israel animals from Semeskandeh Wildlife Refuge were re-introduced in the Hai Bar Carmel Reserve in 1978, where they have been bred and subsequently released (since 1996) into the Kziv Reserve and surrounding countryside in northern Israel, and since 2005 into the Jerusalem Mountains.

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Threats

This species has experienced numerous threats such as habitat destruction, poaching, natural predation, and competition with livestock, and this lead to its long decline and near extinction. Also they are suffering from the effects of small population size, isolation and inbreeding.

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Conservation information

IUCN Red List

Endangered: D ver 3.1

EU habitat directive

-

CITES

Appendix I, species threatened with extinction

EU Wildlife trade regulation EC Reg. 338/97

-

Bern convention

-

Bonn convention

-

Conservation status

Conservation actions

This species has an important and interesting conservation history.

In 1960, the Iranian Game and Fish Department initiated the first conservation actions by designating the Dez Wildlife Refuge and Karkeh Wildlife Refuge around the site of this animal's re-discovery. A male and a female calf were bought from local people in south-west Iran by a team from Von Opel's zoo in Germany in "1957-1958", and subsequently a stag was sent to Germany. Between 1964 and 1965, a 400 strong team captured 6 deer within the protected areas and transfer them to the Dasht-e-Naz Wildlife Refuge, where they were managed in a 55 hectare enclosure, and where the population increased.

Succesfull conservation measures

From 1977, specimens of pure-bred Persian fallow deer were transferred to new sites in different parts of Iran including its original habitat in Karkheh Wildlife Refuge. Signs of deer were still presented in Karkheh prior to the translocation.
Subsequently in 1995 the new enclosure (180 ha) was established in Semeskandeh Wildlife Refuge for transferred pure-bred deer from Dasht-e-Naz, in order to reduce the population density in Dasht-e-Naz. These conservation measures have brought the species back from the brink of extinction in Iran, and the population is gradually increasing. However, the two truly wild population remain seriously threatened and need strict protection in order to recover.

Re-introduction program

The re-introduction program within Israel was initiated in 1996. Recommended conservation actions have been compiled by Rabiei, and include:

  • further population surveys;
  • ecological and genetic research;
  • strengthening of existing management of protected areas;
  • creating of new protected areas;
  • promote protection of the last remaining truly wild populations in the Dez Wildlife Refuge and Karkeh Wildlife Refuge;
  • re-introducing animals to these two populations;
  • strengthening the existing captive breeding programs;
  • and establishing a collaborative captive breeding programme.

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Library

Presentations

Reports

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Photos and other pictures to add

Persian fallow deer 1

Persian fallow deer - see the difference in the antlers
Source: Unknown
Rights:

Persian fallow deer 2

Persian fallow deer
Source: Unknown
Rights:

Persian fallow deer - see the difference in the antlers

Persian fallow deer
Source: Unknown
Rights:

Additional photos

Please email photos and figures that may be used in further publications to

To illustrate this webpage (and for the sake of the protection of these animals) we have made use of photos of which it is not always clear who is the possessor of the credits and rights. If you feel yourself infringed in your rights or if you know the source of a photo, please let us know.

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Experts and scientific referees

IUCN SSC

For more detailed information view the 'Persian Fallow Deer - Dama mesopotamica' page on to the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

Goudarzi, Forough

Persian fallow deer
Tarbiat Modares University, Iran - M.Sc. Student

Saltz, David

Conservation, Persian fallow deer, Asiatic wild ass, Arabian oryx, Mountain gazelle, Ibex; Israel, Mediterranean and desert; Modeling and analysis
Ben Gurion University, Israel

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All comments on Persian Fallow Deer (Dama mesopotamica)

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