Tiny new addition at Chester Zoo: Meet Paolo, the Southern Pudu Fawn
Chester Zoo has welcomed a rare baby Southern pudu – one of the world’s smallest species of deer.
Named Paolo by his keepers, the tiny male fawn weighed less than a bag of sugar (900g) and stood just over six inches tall at birth, roughly the size of a guinea pig.
Southern Pudus, native to the rainforests of southern Chile and southwestern Argentina, are listed as near-threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Conservationists warn that this species could face an uncertain future due to rapid declines in wild populations over recent decades, primarily attributed to habitat loss and illegal poaching.
Paolo was born to parents Serena and Oden and is part of an international conservation breeding programme.
This effort aims to establish a genetically viable insurance population in zoos to aid long-term species protection.
Although small, Southern Pudus are agile sprinters, using zigzag patterns to evade less nimble predators.
Caroline Wright, a pudu keeper at the zoo, commented on Paolo’s arrival, saying: “Pudus are the smallest deer in the world – and so you can just imagine how tiny a newborn is. In fact, being similar in size to a guinea pig, Paolo makes even Bambi look huge!”
She also noted that young Pudus have distinctive white flecks on their backs for camouflage, which fade as they mature.
Paolo, born on 17th May 2023, represents a beacon of hope for his species, reflecting Chester Zoo’s ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation.
Through successful breeding and conservation programmes like these, the zoo continues its mission to protect endangered species and ensure their survival for future generations. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com