A mother Southern pudú at Edinburgh Zoo gave birth to her fawn, named Scarlet. Sadly, only two and a half weeks later, Scarlet's mother died due to a preexisting health condition that was exacerbated by giving birth. The keepers had to work night and day with Scarlet, who was at risk without her mother's nourishment and care. The tiny fawn is being bottle-fed and is now gaining weight and thriving.
Scarlet's bright outlook is not only due to the dedication of her keepers. Her father Normski began to nurture Scarlet and keep her company (see photo number 2). Edinburgh Zoo staffer Liah Etemad explained,
“Scarlet started on seven to eight bottled feeds of milk each day, getting her first feed early in the morning, throughout the day and then into the early hours. She is steadily gaining weight each day. During the first week after mum died she was cared for solely by her keepers, but then at four weeks she was reintroduced to her dad Normski. We were all delighted how well it went and the two were soon cuddled up together in the evenings and he maintains a watchful eye over her during the day. The fact her and her father have bonded so well means that he is teaching her natural pudú behavior.
It has taken a lot of time and commitment from keepers, and at seven weeks old we are still giving her a small number of bottles during the day, but we could not be happier to see little Scarlet thrive. She has done so well that visitors are able to see her with dad at our pudú enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo.”
Pudús are the smallest deer in the world. Southern pudú are native to southwestern Argentina and Chile. When pudús reach adulthood, they are only about 15 inches high and 20-35 pounds. These animals are classified as a vulnerable species, as their numbers are diminished due to the rainforests of their habitat being cleared for cattle ranches and other land development. See a video of Scarlet at Zooborns.
Images Credit: Edinburgh Zoo