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Saving deer breeds a story of success

Updated: 2023-08-12 09:31 ( China Daily )
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Thanks to decades of conservation, the population of milu deer, a once endangered species, has gradually increased at the Shishou Milu Deer National Nature Reserve. [Photo/Xinhua]

At the Shishou Milu Deer National Nature Reserve in Central China's Hubei province, about 2,000 creatures roam and frolic freely. Their numbers include 460 fawns born this year, evidence that the species, once dying out in China in the early 20th century, have staged a remarkable recovery.

Often referred to as sibuxiang (literally meaning "four aspects seen in other animals") they seem to consist of parts of various creatures. Also known as Pere David's deer, the milu, of course, has antlers like other deer, but also seems to have the head of a horse, the hoofs of cattle and the tail of a donkey.

Its conservation story provides an extraordinary example for other endangered animals under a threat of extinction.

In 1985, the species was reintroduced from the United Kingdom to China, and the population gradually increased.

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