Tiny critter creates excitement at the Queens Zoo

By Bill Parry

There’s a new star attraction creating quite a buzz at the Queens Zoo. A southern pudu fawn, the world’s smallest deer species, was born at the zoo May 12, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the zoo, located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The arrival of the male fawn brings the total number of pudu on exhibit at the zoo to three, alongside his parents Josephine and Hamilton. The baby doesn’t have a name yet but staff members are considering “Yogurt” and while he’s still tiny in stature, weighing only two pounds, he’ll be fully grown in 6 months, still only 12 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder.

Southern pudu are native to Chile and Argentina and exhibit extraordinary behaviors, say officials with the WCS. They bark when they sense danger and when chased, they run in a zig-zag pattern to escape predators including owls, foxes, pumas and small cats.

“One of the things we try to here at the Queens Zoo is give people an appreciation for the diversity of wildlife that exists out there and see some of the neat animals that are not found here in New York,” Queens Zoo Director Scott Silver said. “The pudu is certainly interesting and it’s a good example of some of the wonders that are out there that people don’t normally get a chance to see.”

Southern pudu are designated Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Using research and conservation practices, the WCS is working in the pudu’s range countries to grapple with ways to curb habitat loss and other threats to pudu and other native wildlife.

Silver added that the baby pudu is expected to draw more visitors to the zoo, which is open every day of the year beginning at 10 a.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and over, $5 for kids 3-12, and free for children under 3.

For further information, call 718-271-1500.

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