Eld’s Deer

East Asia


Rucervus eldii


  • Overhunting
  • High value of body parts to the black market
  • Mortality through predation

The Eld's Deer or Cervus Eldi is an endangered species of deer indigenous to the Dry Forests eco-region of South Asia. Its name is a tribute to a British officer Lt. Percy Eld.

Also called Thamin or Brow-Antlered Deer, the Eld’s Deer has three sub-species: Rucervus Eldii Eldii (stays on wetlands); Rucervus Eldii Siamensis (stays in shady leaves forests); and, Rucervus Eldii Thamin (does not stay on wetlands but in forests). The Eld’s Deer loves to feed on grass, fruits, and shoots – spending almost the whole day seeking food sources but generally avoiding coastal areas. Males can live up to 16 years while females have a 20 year lifespan.

General measurements for adults include: 276 to 386 lbs (weight); 59 to 71 inches (heady-body length); 39 inches (antler length); 8 to 12 inches (tail length). Its slender body and long thin legs are specifically designed for continuous physical movements (running, sprinting, jumping) while looking for food. Its coarse coats turn reddish brown during summer and dark brown during winter.

The Eld’s Deer, like any other bovine species, is very vulnerable to attacks and killing due to its preference to eat in open field spaces. Its antlers and hide also command an attractive price on the black market. Due to intense development and land reclamation efforts, there is very limited natural habitat for the Eld’s Deer.