An endangered Philippine spotted deer fawn, who was recently born at Chester Zoo, has ventured out for visitors to see.
The beloved Cheshire attraction receives close to two million visitors each year, and the new arrival has joined 27,000 animals that currently live within the award-winning zoological gardens.
The rare fawn is part of a crucial conservation programme focused on breeding, which includes multiple zoos in Europe. The initiative was established after a request by the Philippine government to secure the future of what has become a highly endangered creature.
The new arrival has been given the name “Hercules”. The zoo has strong traditions for naming the animals in its care, such as calling its chimpanzees after pop and rock stars like Alice Cooper and Bob Dylan. However, the zoo’s rare deer have names connected to outer space, and the newcomer, who was born to parents Cosmos and Nova, is named for one of the 88 modern constellations.
At birth, Hercules was only 30 centimetres in height, with a weight of around 2 kilograms. He is now finding his feet in a special habitat created specifically for his species, and will remain accompanied by his parents as he settles in.
Philippine spotted deer are exceptionally rare, with just a few hundred living in the wild today. As a result, the birth of Hercules is an important event for Chester, which is working alongside other animal specialists to create a zoo-based population to serve as a safety net for the species.