Photo from West Berlin Zoo though Lothar Schlawe (1911).
|English Name||Schomburgk's Deer|
|Czech Name||Jelen Schomburgkův|
|French Name||Cerf de Schomburgk|
|Spanish Name||Ciervo de Schomburgk|
Sa Mun, Sa Mun
|Synonyms||Thaocervus schomburgki, Rucervus schomburgki|
|Comments||After the discovery of fresh antlers in 1991, the Schomburgk's deer may possibly survive in Laos. Until there is scientific proof of a living specimen The Extinction Website does not recognise its rediscovery and acknowledges that the species is extinct.|
Deer had a graceful body with beautiful antlers making it one of the most
beautiful deer. It had a body length of 180 cm (6 ft.), a shoulder height
of 104 cm (3.4 ft.) and a tail length of 10,3 cm (4 in.). The Schomburgk's
deer had a weight of 100-120 kg (220-264 lb.). Their upper parts had an
uniform brown colour, with lighter underparts. The legs and area between
the antlers had a reddish tinge. The short tail has a bright white ventral
surface. The antlers have a length 32-83 cm along the outside curve and
there are at least five tines on each antler. The females didn't have
antlers. This deer had two equal sized toes on their hooves. (Nowak,
1999; Huffman, 2004)
|Lifestyle||They lived in small herds consisting of a single adult male, a few females, and their young (Huffman, 2004). The Schomburgk's deer spent most of the day resting in shaded areas. The small herds were feeding in the early evening to the morning. Densely vegetated areas were avoided and most activity occurred on the open swampy plains. When flooding occurred during the rainy season, the Schomburgk's deer were forced to move to higher pieces of land, which often turned into 'islands'. Hunters, who would surround the temporary landmass and attempt to kill everything they could, frequently used these islands. (Nowak, 1999)|
|Range & Habitat||The
Schomburgk's deer may once have occurred as far north as Yunnan (China)
and Laos, but is known with certainty only from south-central Thailand.
This deer occurred along the Chao Phya River plains around Bangkok and the
surrounding areas, they roamed the area from Samut Prakarn to Sukhothai
and in the east they were found in Nakhon Nayok to Chachengsao. In the
west they were found from Suphan Buri to Kanchanaburi. In Thailand it
inhabited swampy plains with long grass, cane, and shrubs. It avoided
densely vegetated areas. (Nowak, 1999)
deer-species was a grazer, but did also eat fruits and leaves.
far as I know there isn't anything known about their reproduction and life
|History & Population||The
Schomburgk's deer was described by Blyth in 1863 and named after Sir
Robert H. Schomburgk who was the British consul in Bangkok from 1857-1864.
Once they were abundant in Thailand. Commercial production of rice for export began in the late nineteenth century in Thailand and by the early 1900s it had led to the loss of nearly all grassland and swamp areas this deer depended on. Intensive hunting pressure at the turn of the century restricted the species further, especially when the herds were forced to crowd onto islands during the floods. By 1920 the Schomburgk's deer was virtually extinct, a few stragglers being reported on the Pu Kio range, where it was hunted by locals (Day, 1981). The last wild individuals are thought to have died around 1932. (Huffman, 2004; Nowak, 1999; World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 1996) The last known specimen of the Schomburgk's deer, an adult male, was kept as a pet at a temple in the Samut Sakhon province of Thailand. A drunk local killed this male in 1938 (Huffman, 2004). No confirmed reports of this species have since been heard and it is formally declared extinct in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, although rumours continue to suggest a remnant population may still survive.
During a visit to a Chinese
medicine shop in a relativley remote area of Laos in February 1991,
Laurent Chazée, an agronomist with the United Nations, saw a pair of
antlers for sale. Not recognising the species, he photographed the
antlers. The shop owner told Chazée the antlers has come from a nearby
district and that the animal had been killed in 1990. Later Chazée
identified the antlers as coming from a Schomburgk's deer. (Schoering,
1995) Therefore it is possible that the Schomburgk's deer survives in Laos
(MacPhee & Flemming, 1999). Further research is needed.
|Extinction Causes||From its discovery in 1862 to its extinction 70 years later, only 200 skins were exported, and though this toll was hardly enough in itself to account for the Schomburgk's deer extinction. European interest did add to existing pressures on this rare animal. The antlers made a spectacular trophy, but were also eagerly sought for their supposed medical and magical properties. The antlers figured particularly in the Chinese medicine trade. Habitat change was as least as decisive for the extinction of the Schomburgk's deer. (Day, 1981)|
Schomburgks deer has been kept in captivity in some countries like
Thailand, France (Paris) and
Germany (Berlin, Hamburg). In 1870, the now disappeared Hamburg Zoological
Garden (Germany) was the first zoo to breed the Schomburgk's deer (Reichenbach,
2002). Sadly, no Schomburgk's
deer survived in captivity..
There is a forested region in area of Laos where the antlers discovered in 1991 purportedly originated. Local people consider this site to have strong animal spirits and hunting is prohibited there. This may explain why the Schomburgk's deer possibly survived in that area. (Schoering, 1995)
Natural History Museum (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle)
in France. This specimen was brought back of Siam, current Thailand, in
1862, by Bocourt and lived in the menagerie of the Paris Natural History
Museum where he died in 1868. It is the single mounted specimen in the
Besides this mounted specimen only a few skulls and antlers survive. (Day, 1981)
Schomburgk's deer is thought to be closely related to the barasingha or
swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli). (Schoering, 1995) Previously found
throughout the drainage basins of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra
Rivers, the barasingha is today restricted to southern Nepal and northern
India. Three subspecies are recognised: the wetland barasingha (Cervus
duvaucelii duvaucelii) in India and Nepal, the upland barasingha (C.
d. branderi) restricted to a single population in Madhya Pardesh,
India; and the critically endangered C. d. ranjitsinhi found in
only a single population in Assam, northeast India. (ARKive, 2006)
Photo: Barasingha in Berlin Zoo, Germany. Photographed by F. Spangenberg (Der Irbis) in November 2005. The image is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Barasingha (Cervus duvaucelii). Downloaded on 22 April 2006 from: http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/mammals/Cervus_duvaucelii.
Huffman, B. 2004. Schomburgk's deer - An Ultimate Ungulate Fact Sheet. <www.ultimateungulate.com> Downloaded on 22 April 2006.
Day, D., 1981, The Doomsday Book of Animals, Ebury Press, London.
Deer Specialist Group 1996. Cervus duvaucelii. In: IUCN 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 April 2006.
MacPhee, R.D.E. and Flemming, C. 1999. Requiem Æternam. The last five hundred years of mammalian species extinctions. In: R.D.E. MacPhee (ed.) Extinctions in Near Time, pp.333-371. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York.Nowak, Ronald M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1936 pp. ISBN 0-801-85789-9
Reichenbach, H. 2002. Lost Menageries - Why and how zoos disappear (part 2). International Zoo News Vol. 49/4 (No. 317) June 2002. Available online at http://www.zoonews.ws/IZN/317/IZN-317.htm.
Schoering, W.B., 1995. Swamp Deer resurfaces. Wildlife Conservation, vol 98, December, p22.
Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (eds). 2005. Mammal Species of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2,142 pp. Available online at http://nmnhgoph.si.edu/msw.
World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1996. Cervus schomburgki. In: IUCN 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 April 2006.
updated: 22nd April 2006.
This page is a part of The Extinction Website. © 2006.
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