Sunday 19 May
Visayan spotted deer (Rusa alfredi)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Visayan spotted deer fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Visayan spotted deer description
This small, short-legged deer is the largest endemic species of the west Visayan islands of the Philippines (2), and is easily distinguished from other Philippine deer by the distinctive pattern of buff-coloured spots scattered across its dark brown back and sides (2) (3). The underparts are a creamy colour with white fur on the chin and lower lip, contrasting sharply with the otherwise deep brown face and neck (3). The head is a slightly lighter shade of brown than the body, and the eyes are surrounded by a ring of paler fur (2). As is typical of most cervids, only males bear antlers, which are bumpy and relatively short and stout at around 20 centimetres in length (2). Males can also be distinguished from females by their much larger overall size (3).
- Also known as
- Philippine spotted deer.
- Cervus alfredi.
- Head-body length: 120 - 130 cm (2)
- Shoulder height: 60 - 80 cm (2)
- Tail length: 8 - 13 cm (2)
- 40 - 60 kg (2)
Wemmer, C. (1998) Deer: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Deer Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. Available at:
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
- Active at night.
- In animals, a pattern of mating in which a male has more than one female partner.
IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
World Deer (February, 2006)
Animal Diversity Web (February, 2006)
- Oliver, W.L.R., Cox, C.R. and Dolar, L.L. (1991) The Philippine spotted deer conservation project. Oryx, 25(4): 199 - 205.
- Wemmer, C. (1998) Deer: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Deer Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
- Heaney, L.R., Balete, D.S., Dolar, M.L., Alcala, A.C., Dans, A.T.C., Gonzales, P.C., Ingle, N.R., Lepiten, M.V., Oliver, W.L.R., Ong, P.S., Rickart, E.A., Tabaranza Jr, B.R. and Utzurrum, R.C.B. (1998) A synopsis of the mammalian fauna of the Philippine Islands. Fieldiana Zoology new series, 88: 1 - 61.
- Heckel, J.O. (2008) Pers. comm.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Visayan spotted deer biology
The Visayan spotted deer is thought to be mainly nocturnal, emerging at dusk to begin feeding on a variety of different types of grasses, leaves and buds within the forest (2). These deer are social animals, usually found in small groups of three to five (7), but their mating system is poorly understood (3). In other members of the genus, mating is usually polygynous, with males competing for access to females through sparring and vocalisations (3). The breeding season of Visayan spotted deer is reported from November to December, although possibly beginning earlier, during which males produce a distinctive roar-like call (4). Young are born in May and June, after a gestation period of around 240 days (3). Offspring are weaned at six months and reach maturity from 12 months of age, at which point males begin to grow antlers (2).Top
Visayan spotted deer range
Endemic to the Visayan islands of the central Philippines, formerly reported on Cebu, Guimaras, Leyte, Masbate, Negros, Panay, and Samar, but now thought to remain only on the islands of Panay and Negros (1) (4).Top
Visayan spotted deer habitatTop
Visayan spotted deer status
Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Visayan spotted deer threats
The Visayan spotted deer is one of the rarest and most narrowly distributed mammals in the world, with only a few hundred wild animals thought to remain (3). Indeed, a survey in 1991 found that the species had already become extinct in over 95 percent of its former range, largely as a result of intensive hunting and extensive deforestation (4), with land having been cleared for agriculture and logging operations at a frightening pace (5). Hunting also poses a significant threat to this Endangered deer (5).Top
Visayan spotted deer conservation
The Visayan spotted deer is afforded some degree of protection through its occurrence in Mt. Camlaon National Park, North Negros Forest Reserve, Mount Talinis/Lake Balinsasayao Reserve and the proposed West Panay Mountains National Park (5). Although Visayan spotted deer are legally protected, their distribution in remote, dense, inland forest makes the practicalities of guard patrolling very difficult, and hunting therefore continues (3). In 1990, the Philippine Spotted Deer Conservation Program was set up to initiate a captive breeding programme and a number of other conservation measures, including a public education campaign and an annual series of conservation workshops (4) (5). Visayan spotted deer are currently held in captivity in Mari-it Conservation Centre in Panay, two breeding centres in Negros, and a dozen zoos in Europe (7).
Despite the benefits of having a captive population to buffer against total extinction, the fate of the Visayan spotted deer in the wild remains highly uncertain, and current agricultural practices and hunting pressure must change if it has any chance of survival in its natural environment (3). Unfortunately, the poor state of the Philippine economy and political unrest make this an extremely difficult task, and captive-bred individuals will not be released into the wild until they have a fair chance of survival (3). The conservation of this rare and beautiful deer is therefore highly complex, and requires considerable efforts by the Philippine government to stabilise the economic environment before it has any real hope of recovery.Top
Find out more
For more information on the Visayan spotted deer see:
Authenticated (20/10/08) by Dr Jens-Ove Heckel, Director, Zoo Landau in der Pfalz.
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.