The fallow deer (Dama spp.); endangered or not?
Zoolog. Garten 85(3-4): 160-172
In less than a century, the fallow deer (Dama spp.) has moved from almost becoming extinct to becoming one of the most widespread ungulate species in the world. Successful translocations and introductions of the species to novel regions date back to, at least, Phoenician sailors who introduced the fallow deer to locations around the Mediterranean. Since that time, the fallow deer has spread to all continents, accumulating much interest on the impacts of their introduction on other species and vegetation. Whilst the fallow deer is still considered extinct or endangered in its native original habitat, in most areas the species has thrived and adapted successfully, playing an important role in food security and sustainability. On the other hand, the fallow deer is raising environmental concerns in many countries as an invasive species to native cervids and vegetative bio-diversity. A thorough understanding of this is needed in order to establish proper conservation and management recommendations and ensure the fallow deer flourishes within manageable ecosystems. This review reports on the different roles of the fallow deer as an ornamental, hunting and meat producing animal and points out management practises that are missing today to help ensure the species is fully utilised.