Dainty Doe

July 9, 2013

An endangered southern pudu, Pudu puda, is born along the Queens Zoo’s South American Trail.

There’s small, tiny, and teensy—and in the world of deer, this one is the latter. The Queens Zoo’s pudu, a species that ranks as the world’s smallest deer, gave birth to a doe weighing just a pound at birth. As an adult, she could grow to 20 pounds.

The fawn is still nursing but will soon transition to fresh leaves, grain, kale, carrots and hay.

Pudu have extraordinary characteristics: they will bark when they sense danger and can climb fallen trees. Although small in stature—only 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder—pudu are excellent jumpers, sprinters, and climbers. What the pudu lacks in size, it makes up in strategy. When chased, pudu run in a zigzag pattern to escape predation.

Southern pudu are native to Chile and Argentina and are designated vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Using research and conservation practices, WCS is working in the pudu’s range countries to grapple with habitat loss and other threats to wildlife.