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Available information on the history, population dynamics, body weight and kidney fat indices in free-living Chinese water deer at Whipsnade Zoo were briefly reviewed.

Fifty eight culled animals were examined quantitatively for changing rumen papilla morphology through different seasons using surface enlargement factors (SEF). The results show a much reduced SEF of below four in winter and rarely above eight in spring, summer and autumn. This is atypical for the entire group of concentrate selectors and even for intermediate feeding types. The inference from the data is that the seasonal rumen development was poorer than expected perhaps indicating that this population was undernourished.