Missing deer reportedly alive

Most of the deer which were displaced from a breeding site in Khuzestan Province following heavy flooding last month are believed to be missing but healthy.

Khuzestan was one of the nine provinces that were hit by severe flash floods in April which left a trail of destruction and caused significant damage to infrastructure. The flooding harmed a breeding site of the Persian fallow deer near the city of Dezful, destroying fences and other installations that were built to keep the deer within the protected area, IRNA reported.

All 35 deer in the area went missing, but officials say they have recovered three live deer and found one dead.

“We’ve combed the area outside the protected zone and have so far managed to recover three of the animals,” said Farhad Qolinejad, head of the Dezful chapter of the Department of Environment.

Citing reports submitted by park rangers, the official is certain the rest of the deer are healthy and in/around the conservation area.

“Some have not yet been found, but we believe that that all of deer are alive and never left the site,” he said, adding that the three animals that were recovered outside the protected area had escaped when the fence collapsed.

It was not clear why the official was so certain about the possible whereabouts of the remaining missing animals.

He added that the metal fence has been reconstructed and temporary measures taken to resume breeding efforts.

The recent flooding destroyed more than 70% of the breeding site and cost an estimated 34 billion rials ($ one million) in damages.

Also known as Mesopotamian fallow deer, the rare animal has been listed as an endangered species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List since 1986. Up until the 1940s, the animal was thought to be extinct.

Native to Iran, the Persian fallow deer can also be found in Dasht-e-Naz Wildlife Refuge and Semeskandeh Wildlife Refuge in northern Iran, the Ashk and Kaboudan Islands in Lake Urmia and in Fars’s Miankotal enclosure in the Arzhan and Parishan protected zones.

The Persian fallow deer restoration plan began in 2010 and is presently being implemented in two regions in Dez and Karkheh national parks.

By Financial Tribune