Odocoileus hemionus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Cervidae

Scientific Name: Odocoileus hemionus (Rafinesque, 1817)
Common Name(s):
English Mule Deer, Black-tailed Deer, Cedros Island Black-tailed Deer, Cedros Island Mule Deer
Spanish Bura, Venado Mulo(a)
Taxonomic Notes: A number of subspecies have been identified (Anderson and Wallmo 1984):
O. h. californicus (Caton, 1876) – California Mule Deer;
O. h. cerrosensis Merriam, 1898 – Cedros Island Deer;
O. h. columbianus (Richardson, 1829) – Columbian Black-tailed Deer;
O. h. crooki (Mearns, 1897) (eremicus Mearns and canus Merriam are synonyms), Heffelfinger (2000) considered O. h. eremicus as the correct name for Desert Mule Deer, because the specimen type of this subspecies is a hybrid of Mule Deer and White-tailed Deer;
O. h. fuliginatus Cowan, 1933 – Southern Mule Deer;
O. h. hemionus (Rafinesque, 1817) – Rocky Mountain Mule Deer;
O. h. inyoensis Cowan, 1933 (the validity is questionable) – Inyo Mule Deer;
O. h. peninsulae (Lydekker, 1898) – Peninsula Mule Deer;
O. h. sheldoni Goldman, 1939 – Tiburon Island Mule Deer;
O. h. sitkensis Merriam, 1898 – Sitka Black-tailed Deer.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-12-16
Assessor(s): Sanchez Rojas, G. and Gallina Tessaro, S.
Reviewer(s): Zanetti, E.S.Z. & González, S.
This species is considered to be Least Concern in light of its adaptability to a wide range of habitats, large populations, occurrence in numerous protected areas, and populations seem to be relatively stable. But there are subspecies that are in danger of becoming extinct e.g. Odocoileus hemionus cerrosensis because on the island where it occurs, density is very low, because there are feral dogs and predation is high.

One obstacle involved in evaluating mule deer populations trend is inconsistent and incomplete data collections as stated by Carpenter et al. (2003). This problem results from the wide variety of methodologies and approaches used by states and provinces for Mule Deer management. There is a real need to standardize many of the methodologies to obtain data collections and establish protocols to obtain those measurements about Mule Deer populations.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Odocoileus hemionus occurs throughout western North America from Alaska and Western Canada through the Rocky Mountains and Western Plains States of the United States south to the Peninsula of Baja California, Cedro Island, Tiburon Island and Northwestern Mexico. The southernmost distribution reaches central Mexico, but the historical boundary is not very clear (Sanchez-Rojas and Gallina 2007).
Countries occurrence:
Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Yukon); Mexico (Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Sonora, Tamaulipas); United States (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaiian Is. - Introduced, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):3000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Where they occur Mule Deer populations are typically managed by federal, state and provincial agencies that monitor abundance and trends in order to set species management objectives. As a result Mule Deer remain abundant throughout much of their native range and are not currently in urgent need of further conservation action, but some evidence in the United State and Canada has shown declines in some populations (Bellard et al. 2001). Additionally in Mexico some data show local extinction of some populations in the Chihuahuan desert region of Coahuila and Nuevo León Mexico (Martínez-Muñoz et al. 2002), and in some populations we found evidence of metapopulation dynamics for this specie (Sanchez- Rojas and Gallina 2000).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Mule Deer are well adapted to a variety of habitats including temperate forest, desert and semidesert, open range, grassland, field and scrub habitats as well as Mountainous areas.
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is mainly used as a game animal, for trophy hunting. In Mexico mainly in northwestern states as Baja California, Sonora and Chihuahua.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Today the most urgent threat to Mule Deer in the wild is the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Currently CWD is more prominent at the local or regional level. CWD has currently been diagnosed in Mule Deer in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States and other mid-western states. Other threats include: high predator populations (including feral dogs), competition with livestock grazing, human habitat alterations and other anthropogenic forces. Although most of the subspecies are not threatened, the Cedro Island subspecies (Odocoileus hemionus cerrocensis) is considered to be Vulnerable (IUCN 1988) because of the low numbers and the high predation by feral dogs and poaching.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in several protected areas across its distribution, some subspecies that live on islands are endangered.

Citation: Sanchez Rojas, G. and Gallina Tessaro, S. 2016. Odocoileus hemionus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T42393A22162113. . Downloaded on 23 September 2018.
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