Southern Pudu

PUDU PUDA

The Brandywine Zoo’s  Southern pudu, Clover (female, born May 22, 2020), came to the Brandywine Zoo in April of 2021 from the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida.

HABITAT
Temperate forests and scrubland

GEOGRAPHIC REGION AND RANGE
Southern Chile and south-western Argentina.

DIET
Herbivore – Leaves, fruit, bark, flowers, and seeds

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
Short reddish-drown fur, males have simple spike antlers, and the young have white spots

SIZE
14-17 inches to the shoulder and roughly 2.5 feet long

WEIGHT
15-30 pounds

LIFESPAN
Wild: 10 years on average
Under Human Care: 15-17 years

THREATS
Pudu are under threat from habitat destruction from timber and agriculture deforestation, being hunted for food and being taken from the wild to be sold as pets. Over 90% of former pudu habitat in Chile has been lost. Also, loose dogs often hunt and kill pudu and people hunt them for meat.

STATUS
Near Threatened

REPRODUCTION
• Gestation last about 7 months
• Usually only one fawn, or baby deer, is born at a time
• Fawns only weigh around 2 pounds at birth

BEHAVIOR
• Southern pudu are crepuscular, meaning they are most active in early morning, late afternoon, and evening.
• While feeding, they tend to follow the same trails, and eat as they go, rather than feeding in one place.

SOCIAL STRUCTURE
• Adult southern pudu are usually solitary, meaning they prefer to live by themselves.
• Young pudu usually leave their mothers to live by themselves by the time they are one year old.
• Both males and females can be territorial in defending their territory.

COMMUNICATION
• Pudus rely on their olfactory sense, or their sense of smell, to communicate. They will poop, pee, or use the scent glands near their eyes or in their hoofs to mark their territory.
• Fawns will call to their mothers when they need help.

FUN FACTS

At 15-30 pounds, the southern pudu is the second smallest deer species! The only smaller species is a close relative, the northern pudu, which only weighs about 7 to 14 pounds!

It’s believed there are fewer than 10,000 southern pudu in the wild, and there are less than 200 in zoos around the world.

Like other deer, male southern pudu will grow and shed their antlers every year. These antlers grow to be about 3 inches long.

Like many deer, southern pudu fawns have white spots when they are born, but they fade after a few months.

What are AZA Zoos doing for Southern Pudu?

Their zoo population is managed through conservation breeding programs called Species Survival Plan programs, which ensures genetic diversity and species health. While southern pudu are not currently endangered, they do face some threats in their natural habitats which include the loss of their habitat due to logging and agriculture, and poaching for the pet trade. AZA zoos are working to maintain a long-term, genetically valuable population of southern pudu through their SSP program.