|Weight||40 - 100 kg|
Persian fallow deer are bigger than Fallow Deer, their antlers are bigger and less palmated. source: Wikipedia
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. Notice the antlers. They found shed antlers in the wild in Israel before the reintroduction started, and none of them were palmate.
The Persian fallow deer occupies a range of woodlands, such as tamarisk, oak and pistachio woodlands. The wild population utilizes riparian forest thickets.
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.
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|
|Sexual Maturity||About 16 months, but males do not breed for several years|
Please add information about predation, see "add a comment" below.
About 365 animals are estimated to represent the world population.
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.
In Israel there were approximately 200 individuals in the north of the country by 2005, and around 150 in Hai Bar Carmel Reserve.
|Israel||200 (2005)||Increasing, but hybrids with Dama dama|
|Israel, Hai Bar Carmel Reserve||150 (2005)||Increasing, but hybrids with Dama dama|
|Males||Females||Unknowns||Births (last 12 months)|
|Wilhelmina Zoo, Stuttgart||8||18||5||7|
|Tisch Family Zoological Garden, Jerusalem||18||38||3||14|
|Tierpark Berlin - Friedrichsfelde GmbH, Berlin||2||7|
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The re-introduction program within Israel was initiated in 1996. Recommended conservation actions have been compiled by Rabiei, and include:
Please email photos and figures that may be used in further publications to info at largeherbivore dot org
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.