SEATTLE—Woodland Park Zoo is excited to announce the return of pudu (pronounced POO-doo), the smallest deer species in the world, to the zoo. Earlier this summer, 1-year-old male pudu, Ted, arrived from the Bronx Zoo. He was introduced to his new exhibit at the beginning of August. Ted can be seen at his exhibit near the flamingos in the Temperate Forest.
Ted came to Woodland Park Zoo on a recommendation from the Pudu Species Survival Plan (SSP), a conservation breeding program to ensure genetic diversity and demographic stability in North American zoos. “Ted is the first step in the SSP’s recommendation to establish a new pudu pair at the zoo,” said Mark Myers, a curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Currently, there is no female available for Ted, but when we eventually get one, the pair would be recommended for breeding.”
In the meantime, Ted is adjusting to his new surroundings. “Ted is jumpier than previous pudu we’ve worked with, but he’s younger and in a new environment so we have yet to see what his personality is really like,” said Myers. “As he gets settled into his new home, those traits will begin to stand out more.”
The southern pudu ranges throughout the lower Andes of Chile and southwest Argentina and lives in dense vegetation and bamboo thickets. The small deer reaches only 14 to 18 inches high at the shoulder and weighs 14 to 30 pounds. Classified as a near-threatened species, the southern pudu faces destruction of its temperate forest habitat for cattle ranching, exotic tree plantations, logging and other human developments. The tiny, compact deer also has to escape feral or unleashed dogs that are often released into the countryside to hunt them. It is believed that fewer than 10,000 remain in the wild.
Woodland Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and certified by the rigorous American Humane Conservation program. The Humane Certified™ seal of approval is another important validation of the zoo’s long-standing tradition of meeting the highest standards in animal welfare. Woodland Park Zoo is helping to save animals and their habitats through more than 35 field projects in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. By inspiring people to care and act, Woodland Park Zoo is making a difference in our planet’s future ecological health and sustainability.