ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The latest big thing at the Detroit Zoo is actually quite small. A female southern pudu – the smallest species of deer – was born May 20, 2013. The fawn is the fifth pudu born at the Zoo since the species was introduced in 2008.
The fawn is a welcome addition to the captive population of pudus, according to Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Mammals Robert Lessnau. "There are less than thirty pudus in U.S. zoos so this birth is significant, especially since the baby is a female."
Found in the temperate rainforests of southern Chile and Argentina, the southern pudu (Pudu puda) can reach a height of 18 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 25 pounds at maturity. The tiny deer has reddish-brown fur and diminutive features, including rounded ears, small black eyes and short legs.
The fawn joins her parents, 6-year-old Carol and 7-year-old T. Roy, and sister Hamill Girl – born in 2012 – in their habitat near two other South American mammals, the giant anteaters and bush dogs.
The yet-to-be-named fawn makes her debut in time for the Detroit Zoological Society's annual fundraiser, Sunset at the Zoo, on Friday, June 14. Presented by Strategic Staffing Solutions, the gala event features a strolling supper, live entertainment, dancing, silent and live auctions, and access to the Zoo's award-winning animal habitats at twilight. To purchase tickets, visit www.detroitzoo.org/sunset.
The Detroit Zoological Society is a nonprofit organization that operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo. Situated on 125 acres of naturalistic habitats, the Detroit Zoo is located at the intersection of 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, just off I-696, in Royal Oak, Mich. The Detroit Zoo is open 362 days a year, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through Labor Day (with extended hours until 8 p.m. Wednesdays during July and August), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the day after Labor Day through October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March. Admission is $14 for adults 15 to 61, $12 for senior citizens 62 and older, and $9 for children 2 to 14 (children under 2 are free). The Belle Isle Nature Zoo is open Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March; closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission is free. For more information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit www.detroitzoo.org.