Milu (Sp), Davidshirsch (G), Cerf du Père David (F). Named for its European discoverer, French missionary and explorer Père Armand David. Called mi-lu or ssu-pu-hsiang in China, the latter meaning "the four unlikes, that is, with the tail of an ass, the hoofs of a cow, the neck of a camel, and the antlers of a stag" (G. M. Allen. 1940).
DESCRIPTION (male) Shoulder height 45-47 inches (115-119 cm). Weight 330-440 pounds (150-200 kg). Females are smaller.
A rather large, physically unique deer with a very long tail, a mane on neck and throat and large, spreading hoofs like those of a caribou or reindeer. The summer coat is reddish, changing to iron-gray in winter, and there is a dark dorsal stripe. The antlers are large and most unusual, with the main beam rising upward from the forehead, a long tine trailing backward, and a multitude of other tines growing in a fairly regular pattern. The antlers would seem useless as weapons, as there are no forward-pointing tines, but males do use them for fighting.
DISTRIBUTION Small numbers are found on private properties in Neuquén province in western Argentina.
REMARKS Père David deer are known only in captivity, having been extinct in the wild for about 2,000 years. Captives were kept at the Imperial Hunting Park near Beijing, China, where they were first seen by Père David in 1865. The last of these deer were slaughtered during the Boxer Rebellion; however, a few had previously been shipped to Europe, and they are the source of today's world population, which includes reintroductions in China.