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Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens

AG Säugetierkunde in NRW

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Fallow deer

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Dama dama




Foto: Marek Szczepanek
The Fallow Deer went extinct with the last Weichsel (Würm) glaciations in Europe. The area of retreat in Asia Minor mostly includes the Turkey of today and south-eastern Europe. The original remnant population of about 200 animals is currently at risk.

Humans started all Fallow Deer populations in Europe. In North Rhine-Westphalia the Fallow Deer populations stem from enclosures. In the year 1883 the oldest Fallow Deer population was founded in the Kottenforst of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Red Deer population living there originally was exterminated by French revolutionary troops. Today Fallow Deer live in 22 populations in the state.

Due to its food requirements and its social behaviour Fallow Deer are optimally adapted to a cultural landscape defined by grassland, farmland and forest. Compared to other deer species Fallow Deer strip significantly less bark. Like Red Deer, Fallow Deer live in herds separated by gender. Fallow Deer flee in characteristic bouncing leaps with the rump patch easily visible to other herd members.

During the mating season Fallow Deer bucks pursue different strategies; as with Red Deer, they either try to better control a group of females or they establish a small mating territory to which Fallow Deer cows are attracted. In 24 hours Fallow Deer bucks roar 25,000 to 30,000 times. The call is much more expressive than in Red Deer. With the exception of the Lower Rhine area and the Eifel in North Rhine-Westphalia, Fallow Deer populations are distributed all over the state.


Michael Petrak


Petrak M (2023): Damhirsch (Dama dama).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2023/03/26



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