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Meet Bernadette, our newborn Père David’s deer fawn!

6 June 2024

We are delighted to announce the birth of a beautiful Père David’s deer fawn, named Bernadette, on the 13th of May!

The Père David’s deer is the rarest animal we proudly host in our park. This unique species, currently classified as ‘Extinct in the Wild,’ has a fascinating history intertwined with both Chinese and European heritage.  In its native China, it’s known as ‘sze pu shiang’, meaning ‘none of the four’. This is because they believe it looks like a mix of four different species; with a camel’s neck, a cow’s hooves, a donkey’s tail, and a deer’s antlers.

The Western name, Père David’s deer, honours Father (‘Père’) Armand David, a French missionary who fell in love with these deer while in China during the 1800s. At that time, the deer were part of an exclusive collection owned by the Emperor of China. Père David persuaded the Emperor to send some of these amazing animals to Europe. This intervention came just in the nick of time, as the wild population in China was almost completely wiped out shortly afterward – due to extensive hunting and catastrophic flooding.

Thanks to Père David’s early conservation efforts, these deer have continued to thrive in captivity across Europe since the late 1800s. We are now a proud participant in this ongoing conservation mission, contributing to the survival and reintroduction of this wonderful species.

Keeper Suzi Marshall expressed her excitement saying, ‘The birth of Bernadette is not just a celebratory moment for our park but a beacon of hope for the entire species. Each new life is a step towards ensuring that the Père David’s deer does not vanish from our world entirely.’

We invite you to join us in welcoming Bernadette and to learn more about the incredible journey of the Père David’s deer.  You can spot her out and about in the Asian drive-thru reserve.

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