Queens Zoo welcomes world’s smallest deer again

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Photos by Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

The Queens Zoo is once again hearing the pitter patter of tiny hooves.

On May 12, the Flushing Meadows Corona Park facility welcomed another southern pudu — the world’s smallest deer species.

The newborn male brings the number of pudu on exhibit at the Queens Zoo to three. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), this is the third year in a row that the same pair has successfully raised a fawn.

The fawn is still nursing but will soon be eating fresh leaves, grain, kale carrots and hay. As the deer grows up, its white spots will also fade.

Once it stops growing, the pudu will be 12 to 14 inches at its shoulder and weigh as much as 20 pounds.

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Native to Chile and Argentina, southern pudu make up for their small stature in other ways, according to the WCS. They bark when they sense danger, can climb fallen trees and when chased by predators, including owls, foxes, pumas and small cuts, run in a zig-zag pattern.

Pudu also tend to be shy, solitary animals, preferring to hide in thick vegetation.

The Queens Zoo breeds the southern pudu, which are designated “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as part of the Species Survival Program. The cooperative breeding program was created to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.