The pudu, named Haechan after a K-pop star, came to Delaware in December to mate with the Wilmington zoo’s female, named Clover, and sire offspring.
After seeming lethargic Friday and getting worse during the day, Haechan was moved to the Animal Care Center on the zoo grounds.
As he continued to get worse, he was transferred to a Pennsylvania veterinary clinic, where he died, according to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
He was 3.
The cause of death is unknown at this time.
“The onset and progression of symptoms was very rapid,” said Brint Spencer, director of the Brandywine Zoo. “At this time, we do not have a cause of death and won’t until after the necropsy,” which is the animal version of an autopsy.
The Brandywine Zoo, run by DNREC, is working with the New Bolton Center of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, who will perform a necropsy
Haechan’s female companion, with whom he shared the pudu habitat, has no symptoms of illness. She is under careful observation, the DNREC press release said.
“Everyone is grieving here,” said Spencer. “It’s so sad, especially when the two pudu had bonded and seemed content.”
Clover did not, however, seem to have become pregnant, said a Los Angeles Zoo information officer.
Haechan was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in December 2018.
He was named by fans of the Korean pop music group NCT-127 for his resemblance to a singer in the group. Haechan, which means full sun, is the singer’s stage name.
A fan-driven Facebook fundraiser raised more money than it needed in just a few hours to name him Haechan.
Haechan came to the Brandywine Zoo under the guidance of the Species Survival Plan Program, where vulnerable species in human care are optimally matched for genetic diversity to increase the population.
That program is coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
This pudu subspecies is considered Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, the DNREC press release said.
are the second smallest deer in the world at 14 to 17 inches at shoulder height.
There are fewer than 10,000 southern pudu left in the wild in Argentina and Chile, and these numbers are rapidly decreasing because of habitat destruction, being hunted for food by humans, and killed by loose dogs.
There are about 200 pudu in zoos around the world.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
Share this Post