The Huemul is an endangered species of deer native to the mountains of Argentina and Chile. These deer are well-adapted to broken, difficult terrain they live in having a stocky build and short legs. Their coat is brown to greyish-brown in color with white undersides and a white marked throat; the long, curled hairs of the coat provide protection against cold and moisture. Huemuls have very large ears which sometimes are described as "donkey-like". Only males have antlers, which are shed each year toward the end of winter. Males also have a distinctive black "face mask", which curves into an elongated heart-shape surrounding a forehead and is brown in color.
Huemuls are found in Argentina and Chile. They range across the high mountainsides and cold valleys of the Andes. These deer live in open periglacial scrubland, low bluffs, and other rocky areas. They also inhabit upland forests and forest-border, steep mountain slopes, and open grasslands.
Huemuls are diurnal and congregate in mixed groups of around 2-5 animals. They have very good senses of hearing, vision, and smell. Huemuls are not territorial animals. During the winter they usually stay at low elevations an in the summer move to high elevations. In order to communicate with each other, these deer use different vocalizations that include grunts, snorts, and bleats between fawns. When feel threatened huemuls will snort and stamp their front legs.
There is little information about the mating system in Huemuls. They breed between February and May and most babies are born in November or December. Females give birth in isolated areas in order to keep a newborn fawn from predators. The gestation period lasts around 7 months after which only 1 fawn is born. The mother will nurse her young for 4-5 months and at around 6 months of age, the fawn will become reproductively mature.
Main threats to huemuls today include habitat fragmentation, poaching, competition with domestic livestock, and predation by domestic dogs. Land conversion for agricultural purposes, construction of pipelines, and logging reduced native lands of huemuls and brought humans in the region these deer inhabit. Harassment and predation by domestic dogs, diseases and parasites of domestic cattle and sheep, and competition from introduced species such as Red deer, all these factors influenced big declines of huemuls.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of huemuls is around 1,500 individuals with no more than 1,000 animals in Chile and 500 animals in Argentina. Currently, huemuls are classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.