Huemul

Huemul

South Andean deer, Southern guemal, Chilean huemul, Güemul

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Subfamily
Genus
SPECIES
Hippocamelus bisulcus
Population size
1,500
Life Span
14 yrs
WEIGHT
70-90 kg
HEIGHT
80-90 cm
LENGTH
140-175 cm

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.

Video

Distribution

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.

Huemul habitat map

Geography

Continents
Countries

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

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.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Huemuls are herbivorous (folivorous) animals. They feed on leaves, tender shoots and sometimes grass.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
February-May
PREGNANCY DURATION
7 months
BABY CARRYING
1 fawn
INDEPENDENT AGE
4-5 months
FEMALE NAME
doe
MALE NAME
buck, stag
BABY NAME
fawn

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.

Population

Population threats

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.

Population number

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.

References

2. Huemul on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/10054/22158895

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