Hainan Eld’s Deer

Hainan Eld's Deer Rucervus eldii
Order: Cetartiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
IUCN Red List: Endangered
CITES: Appendix I
State Key Protected Animal List of China: Class I





About the Species

Eld’s Deer is an Endangered deer species found in open dry forests of lowland Southeast Asia. Due to its rarity, little is known about its taxonomy and ecology, hampering conservation of the dwindling populations. Three subspecies of Eld’s Deer are widely recognised, with the Hainan population considered part of the subspecies siamensis.

However, Chinese scientists showed that the Hainan Eld’s Deer is morphologically and genetically distinct, and has long been isolated from continental populations.  

Hainan Eld’s Deer occurred across coastal lowlands of the island, but habitat loss and hunting became severe with the influx of mainland immigrants. The deer population undergone a precipitous decline with less than 50 deer remained in 1976. To control illegal activities more effectively, fences were built around the last habitats. The population bounced back to several hundreds and is today safe from imminent extinction risk. However, the long-term future of the Hainan deer is unclear – the deer populations have far exceeded the carrying capacity of the tiny protected areas with signs of ecosystem degradation, and most suitable habitats outside the fenced reserves have been developed.  


Conservation Actions

Kadoorie Conservation China Department kicked off a project in Bangxi Provincial Nature Reserve in 2015 to develop a habitat enhancement strategy, in which we constructed water-retention contour ditches, started rotational grazing and conducted mixed planting of native forage plants. We helped improve reserve management by building patrol routes and guard posts, and provide the staff with relevant training. We also launched community work in the surrounding villages and schools in order to gain local support. Moreover, we collaborate with various authorities and research institutions in China, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia on a conservation genomic study of different populations for the subspecies. Through this cutting-edge research, we are hoping to design more effective protection and population management plans for the species.    





Hainan Eld’s Deer project:


Read more:

1. Concerted effort to save the Hainan Eld’s Deer

2. Planting Trees for Hainan Eld’s Deer