We are very fortunate to have so many Marsh Deer (Blastocerus dichotomus) at our reserve. It is classed as Vulnerable in the IUCN redlist and is known as Ciervo de los Pantanos in Argentina.
This is the largest of the South American deer and can reach a height of up to 1.2m, and a weight of between 100-150kg. Colouration is rufous in the spring/summer but it becomes browner during the winter. They are characterised by their black lower legs. Males can develop antlers up to 60cm in length with up to 8 points.
They love to graze in shallow water and marshland and their hooves are specially adapted to this type of habitat. They eat leaves, aquatic plants and roots and are good swimmers.
Generally the female bears one offspring per year which can be at any time of year.
The range of the Marsh Deer is generally confined to Paraguay, the SW of Brazil and the NE of Argentina although there are still small pockets of these animals in the wetlands of Bolivia and Peru.
Threats to this species come from habitat loss, contact wtih cattle which can cause disease and to a lessening degree hunting. The dam at Yacyreta, on the Argentina/Paraguayan border has caused a large loss of habitat for the Marsh Deer owing to the change in water levels. Drainage of marshland for rice growing is also a problem. Natural predators include the Jaguar and Puma but there are none of the former and only a handful of the latter in the Ibera Marshes.
Female Marsh Deer