Persian fallow deer are rare ruminant mammals from Western Asia. Their taxonomic status is disputed and some consider them as a subspecies of the Fallow deer, while others treat them as a separate species. Persian fallow deer are larger than Fallow deer, and their antlers are bigger and less palmated. Persian fallow deer resemble fawns; they have white spots covering their dark chestnut coats and males have beautiful, flattened antlers. These deer have powerful legs and are extremely fast.
Persian fallow deer are nearly extinct today. They are found only in a small habitat in Khuzestan, southern Iran, two rather small protected areas in Mazandaran (northern Iran), an area of northern Israel, an island in Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran, and probably in some parts of Iraq. These deer inhabit open woodlands such as tamarisk, oak, and pistachio woodlands
Persian fallow deer are social animals and live in herds. During the breeding season, males establish territories. They are active during the day and spend their time grazing, socializing in groups in open areas and resting.
Persian fallow deer have a polygynous mating system in which one male mates with more than one female during the breeding season. They breed during August and early September, and fawns are born at the end of March to early April. The gestation period lasts approximately 229 days. Females usually give birth to a single fawn; twinning occurs rarely. Fawns are nursed and protected by their mothers and become reproductively mature at around 16 months of age; however, males do not breed for several years.
The main threat to Persian fallow deer is the loss of their habitat. Since these deer are primary consumers in their ecosystem, they are negatively affected by the destruction of the habitat that supports their primary food. Another big threat to Persian fallow deer is human poaching. They were hunted for sport and for food since the early Neolithic era. The spread of firearms caused a further increase in deer poaching, dropping the population size to what was regarded as the deer's extinction in the 1940s. Competition with domestic livestock, including cattle, has also further reduced the amount of food available to the deer as cattle are strong competitors for food and may be able to exert competitive pressure on Persian fallow deer.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total wild population size of Persian fallow deer is more than 250 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are increasing.