Brandywine Zoo Welcomes Baby Pudu

Baby PuduClover, a southern pudu brought to the Brandywine Zoo as part of an AZA Species Survival Plan, recently gave birth to a male baby pudu. /DNREC Image

WILMINGTON, DE — The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Brandywine Zoo announced Clover, a southern pudu at the zoo, welcomed a male baby the night of July 12. The new fawn is a significant contribution to the North American pudu population. Both Clover and her baby are doing well.

Clover, who has been at the zoo since April 2021, was joined by Ande, a 1-year-old male southern pudu, at the end of November from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Wash. Their pairing is part of an Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), a conservation breeding program where vulnerable species in human care are optimally matched for genetic diversity to increase the population.

A name for the baby, who weighed in at 20 ounces – or four times the size of a hamster, will be chosen soon. Check the Delaware State Parks and Brandywine Zoo Facebook pages for updates as the baby progresses.

While they do have access to their exterior habitat at the zoo, Clover and her fawn are mainly keeping to their holding area for now, especially during hot summer temperatures. If they are seen in their exterior habitat, the public is asked to keep their voices down at this time.

Southern pudu are the second smallest deer in the world at 14 to 17 inches at shoulder height. There are fewer than 10,000 southern pudu left in the wild in Argentina and Chile. This pudu species is considered Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

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While not currently endangered, the population in the wild is declining. Pudu face threats , including habitat loss due to logging and agriculture, feral dogs and poaching for the pet trade. AZA zoos, including the Brandywine Zoo, are working to maintain a long-term, genetically valuable population of southern pudu through their SSP program. There are only 45 pudu at 15 institutions in the AZA’s Species Survival Plan. Nine of these animals, including eight males are located at a facility in Argentina, so a new male in the U.S. population is a very welcome addition.

The Brandywine Zoo’s pudu were acquired as part of the zoo’s master plan, which was completed in 2018 and reestablishes the zoo’s commitment as an active contributor to the AZA’s conservation breeding programs.

Several other new additions have recently arrived at the Brandywine Zoo as SSP recommended moves and are visible to guests. These include a female Hoffman’s two-toed sloth, acquired in May. She is currently housed in the South American exhibit with the capybara, ducks and ibis. Hoffman’s sloth are currently listed as “least concern,” but their numbers in the wild are decreasing. Two yearling binturongs, which are also called southeast Asian bearcats, were acquired in June from a zoo in Michigan. These are tree dwelling animals and one of only two carnivores with a prehensile tail. Binturongs are listed as “vulnerable” and their populations in the wild are also declining.

The Brandywine Zoo, managed by the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation, is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and is one of 238 accredited zoos and aquariums worldwide that meet the highest standard in animal care and welfare, and provide fun, safe and educational experiences.

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