In our collection
Highland Wildlife Park has a small herd of Bukhara deer: a male named Esan, who was born in 2004, a female named Mariam who was born in 2005 and their sons Dushanbe who was born in June 2013 & Ghost who was born in 2014. Esan came to us in 2005 from the Cologne Zoo. Mariam came to us from Mulhouse Zoo in France in 2007. In 2015 we received a new female, Almaty, from Berlin. A male calf has been born in 2016.
Our Bukhara deer can be seen in their own enclosure on the far side of the Park's main reserve.
Please find below an excerpt on our Bukhara deer from our Main Reserve audio guide:
In the Wild
Bukhara deer (Cervus elaphus bactrianus) are related to red deer and American elk. They are found in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and possibly Afghanistan, living in arid woodlands and plains and occasionally on mountainsides and moorlands. They are mainly browsers, feeding on herbs, leaves, buds, shoots and bark.
In general they are grey in colour and have a white patch on their hindquarters, a short yellowish-brown tail that is lighter in colour and darker dorsal body hair.
For the majority of the year, they live in single sex groups. Males and females come together for the breeding season and the stags perform a mating ritual called a rut. This is when the stags compete for the attentions of the hinds. If the stag is successful in attracting the females he then has to defend them from other stags that may try and tempt them away. Stags will challenge each other by braying and unless one backs down then they will charge each other with their antlers clashing. Only males have antlers, which are shed and regrown every year. After the breeding season, the deer return to their separate groups until the following season.
Sadly, habitat destruction, poaching and hunting are still significant issues for Bukhara deer, but there have been some modest population increases at a local level. A number of re-introduction programmes to conserve this species are underway, with mixed success, with monitoring of populations continuing.