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Wuppertal Zoo Society - Nature conservation

Protection project for the South Andean Deer (Huemul) in Chile

South Andean Deer (Huemul)

The South Andean Deer or Huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus) in addition to the Condor, a national symbol of Chile and pictured on Chile's coat of arms, lives in the central and southern regions of Chile and Argentina from sea level to an altitude of 1,700 meters. In Argentina it is almost extinct. In Chile, the South Andean Deer is threatened in the northern part of its ranging territory because it has to compete with the Red Deer that were imported by man. In addition, the young Deer are being killed by wild dogs and the sparse grass is being grazed by domestic sheep. The total population is estimated to be around 1000 animals. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) has ranked the South Andean Deer as an endangered species.

The conservation area that is being controlled by local employees is supposed to safeguard the existence of the South Andean Deer. At the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park in southern Chile the project "Tempano Fjord: Last Reserve" aims to protect the Huemul and its habitat. Zoo director Dr. Ulrich Schürer, together with Pepe Lienhard, visited the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park in 2004 and gathered information on this project in which several South and North American organisations participate, such as the National Forestry Corporation, the Zoological Acclimatization Center of La Dehesa from Chile and the Wildlife Conservation Society from the USA. The Wuppertal Zoo has already financed a supply vessel to the national park and the Wuppertal Zoo Society has spent some of the proceeds from the charity concert for the protection of endangered species to support this project.

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