(Cervidae, Moschidae, and Tragulidae)
AZA Deer TAG
Many of our captive deer species are in trouble. In fact, there are a few species that have declined to the point of no return. Calamian deer, white-lipped deer, Barbary stag, and Bactrian wapiti are not sustainable for much longer in the future. At this point, we will probably witness the decline of these four species in our collections to the point of extinction in AZA. Others, like Burmese brow-antlered (or Eld's) deer are still holding on, but zoo interest is falling rapidly and valuable genetic diversity is being lost rapidly. Unless dramatic changes are made in the allocation of space by zoos, they will also follow this same trend. The larger exotic cervids are declining fast in North American collections due to a waning interest by zoos, and possibly due to the difficulties of trying manage deer with current Chronic Wasting Disease regulations.
However, the future for small cervids looks a little better. Zoos still want the smaller deer species and in some cases, like pudu and chevrotain, the current demand cannot be met and this need increases even further within the next five years. The little deer species look secure for now but they also have a few issues looming in the immediate future that need attention. New genetics are desperately needed and zoos need to invest in these little deer through some strategic importing or these populations will also be lost to us as well.
AZA Deer TAG Mission Statement
The mission of the Deer Taxon Advisory Group is to provide guidance and recommendations to North American institutions to promote and sustain captive populations of wild Cervidae, Moschidae and Tragulidae species and support global activities and programs that enhance their survival in the wild.