It’s always a special day at a zoo when an animal is born — everyone loves to see an adorable baby animal. The occasion is even more special when the newborn is a member of a rare or endangered species.
And the recent arrival of one precious deer at the Marwell Zoo in Winchester, UK has given people a rare chance to see the smallest hoofed animals in the world.
This month the zoo welcomed a Javan chevrotain mouse deer. The wide-eyed newborn weighs only 13 oz and is the size of a rat, and has been winning hearts everywhere with her cuteness.
“We’re fawning over our tiny new arrival,” Marwell Wildlife punningly joked on Facebook.
The mouse deer lives up to its name by being the smallest living hoofed mammal in the world. They average just 18 inches long when fully grown.
Unfortunately, their population is also believed to be in decline, from being hunted for their meat and captured as pets in their native island of Java, Indonesia, according to PA Media.
And due to their size and behavior they are hard to breed in captivity, so the birth of any new Java mouse deer is a big deal.
“There are very few zoos who care for any of the mouse deer species as they are so small in size, very secretive, and nocturnal, so any youngster born is great news for the conservation breeding programme,” Tim Rowlands, Marwell Zoo’s hoofstock team leader, told PA Media.
“It’s vitally important that we work to ensure these wonderful animals do not disappear for good.”
While the baby mouse deer was bred in captivity, the zoo made sure to facilitate the species’ natural birth behavior as much as possible.
“We separated the male and female two weeks before she gave birth so she would not be disturbed, even by him, mimicking the natural behavior of the female taking herself away to find a quiet and secure spot to give birth in the wild,” Rowlands explained.
Wow, what an adorable animal! We’ve never seen anything like this! Share this incredible good news on Facebook!