Figure 1. On the first of january 2010, this deer came to drink at a water reservoir in RPPN Mãe-da-lua, while I was in a hide, on the other side of the reservoir, waiting for something interesting to happen. Lucky coincidence, and a good start of the new year.To top of page
Species identification and taxonomy: This deer has approximately the size and weight of an adult goat (25-30 kg). The species could be Gray Brocket (Mazama gouazoubira), but I am not certain.
In Ceará, deers are close to extinction. As in the case of the White-browed Guan, the main threat is hunting. Habitat destruction could also be a problem, but the species adapts to secondary arboreal Caatinga (see below), which is still quite common in Ceará.
Habitat: In RPPN Mãe-da-lua, I saw this deer or its footprints all over the reserve, at waterholes and reservoirs, in the lowlands and in the hills, in secondary arboreal caatinga, and in dry or subhumid mountain forest. I repeatedly observed it foraging in the semi-open bush and grass habitat surrounding one of our reservoirs, and once, I saw it eating caju fruits below a cajueiro tree not more than about 50 meters from our office.
Behaviour: Sometimes, one can observe these animals in bright day light (Fig. 1), after dawn or before dusk. Normally, they are solitary, but on one occasion, I observed a pair feeding next to a reservoir. I presume the two were male and female, coming temporarily together for mating.
Residents told me that in the past, deer was sometimes seen foraging together with sheep or cattle.
The deer does not permanently stay in the same location. Rather, it seems to move from one area to the next, within a vast territory. Sometimes, it can be seen at a certain place - for example, around a reservoir - during a week or two, and then, it appears to vanish for several months. Unfortunately, it also moves to areas outside the RPPN, which are not protected from hunters.
Situation in RPPN Mãe-da-lua: It seems that our efforts to prevent hunting have some effect. It is not possible to count the individual animals in the reserve, but we now see more deer than a few years ago. Residents also confirm that sightings of deer around the reserve are becoming more common.