Monkey Forest Tales: Some notes about deers in the study area

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After the last post was published, we realize that we forget another important mammal in the region, deers. Although the more widespread species in the region is the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), there are at least another two species of deers present in the study region, especially in the big forest fragments. There two other species are the gray brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira) and red brocket deer (Mazama americana).

All are herbivorous species who eat grasses, some fruits and flowers. Mainly nocturnal but the white-tailed deer is also diurnal. All are mainly solitary, except by the white-tailed deer that can be also found in small groups.

White-tailed deers are found in the study area mainly near to the forest edges and sometimes you can find their youngsters hiding quietly in the regenerating areas of abandoned pastures or in the forest edges near to watermelon crops after the harvest feeding on the leftover fruits.

We had the opportunity to see at least a couple of youngsters over the years, but we don’t have detailed data on their population in the area, except by some sightings, feces, and footprints.

Although hunted by its meat in many areas of their distribution areas, these three species seem to not be particularly heavily hunted in the study area, at least not in the forest fragments where they can be found that we have access. White-collared peccaries seem to be preferred in the area as bushmeat.

Sometimes it’s possible to find young animals in farmhouses as pets, mainly from white-tailed deers, usually keep it by local people after killing the mother, but not very often. We had seen them mostly alone or the mother and her offspring in the early hours of the morning. They seem to use living fences to hide and to rest at its shadow.

In the biggest fragments where the red and gray brocket deers can be found, mostly we have data on footprint which tells us that they used the trails used by locals to move the cattle from one pasture to another through the forest. Their main threats are deforestation and illegal hunting, at least in this area.

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