Hand-rearing Roe deer Capreolus capreolus: practice and research potential

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Abstract

Four ♀ Roe deer Capreolus capreolus were hand-reared and released into a 10 ha enclosed natural habitat. This paper describes the hand-rearing procedure, nutrition and development, which we compare with other documented cases. We illustrate the handling techniques that enabled us to maintain a close relationship with the hand-reared Roe deer in their adulthood and study them under semi-free-ranging conditions. The benefits of conducting research with hand-reared Roe deer are described, together with possible biases that must be taken into consideration when planning a research programme. The Roe deer were hand-reared in order to conduct a detailed feasibility study for the Roe deer reintroduction programme in Israel, where they have been locally extinct for 100 years.

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