Axis calamianensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Cervidae

Scientific Name: Axis calamianensis (Heude, 1888)
Common Name(s):
English Calamian Deer, Calamian Hog Deer, Philippine Deer
French Cerf-cochon Calamien
Spanish Ciervo de los Calamianes, Ciervo Porquerizo de los Calamianes
Axis porcinus ssp. calamianensis (Heude, 1888)
Cervus calamianensis Heude, 1888
Hyelaphus calamianensis (Heude, 1888)
Taxonomic Notes: This species was previously included in Axis porcinus (Haltenorth 1963), but is now treated as a full species (Groves and Grubb 1987, Grubb 2005). There is current research suggesting that this species should be included within the genus Hyelaphus, together with porcinus and kuhlii (Meijaard and Groves 2004).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-11-17
Assessor(s): Widmann, P. & Lastica, E.
Reviewer(s): Brook, S.M. & McShea, W.J.
Contributor(s): Oliver, W.
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence (2,591 km2) is less than 5,000 km2; occurring in Busuanga, Calauit, Culion, Marily and Dimaquiat islands (= five locations). The species is undergoing continuing decline due to hunting pressure and human settlement and agricultural expansion over its very limited range. Pressure on the habitat has increased due to resettlement of victims of typhoon Haiyan, and squatting of outsiders in Busuanga (P. Widmann pers. comm. 2014).
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Philippines, where it is restricted to the Calamian Islands in the Palawan faunal region. The species occurs on three of the four larger islands in Calamians, i.e. Busuanga, Calauit and Culion, but is absent from Coron (Oliver 1993, Oliver and Villamor 1993, Heaney et al. 1998, Grubb 2005). The species is also reported to have occurred on at least nine other smaller islands, including three islands where small numbers of individuals translocated from Calauit were released in the late 1980s (Oliver and Villamor 1993). However, it was reported to be extinct on at least seven (78%) of these islands (Bacbac, Capari, Panlaitan, Galoc, Apo, Alava and Dicabaito), and to survive on only two of these islands, namely Marily and Dimaquiat (Rico and Oliver 2008). It is not known from anywhere else in the region, including mainland Palawan, nor the larger and intervening of island of Linacapan.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Number of Locations:5
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species was reputedly common in all suitable localities throughout the main islands of Busuanga and Culion in the 1940s, but to have drastically declined in numbers on all parts of these islands, except in the extreme south of Culion, by the mid-1970s (Grimwood 1976). A small population of deer surviving on Calauit Island at that time was supplemented by a further 30 translocated individuals in 1977 (J. Gapuz pers. comm.), following the creation of the 'Calauit Island Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary' in 1976, and the eviction and resettlement of the islands former residents (Oliver 1993, Oliver and Villamor 1993). By April 1994, Calauit was reported to hold an estimated population of 1,123 ± 236 individuals (Orig and Rosell 1994); though more recent estimates indicate significant reductions in the numbers of these animals numbers following resettlement of the island by former residents and resurgence of hunting pressure. A survey in 2006 (Rico and Oliver 2008) showed the species still to be widespread on Calauit, Busuanga and Culion, though densities remain low in many areas (W. Oliver pers. comm.). It was also found still to be present on the islands of Marily and Dimaquiat. In 2010 a field survey conducted on Busuanga (18 days), Culion (15 days) and Coron (2 days) did not record the species from any of the six surveyed sites, but secondary information indicates presence in at least four sites (Paguntalan et al. 2010).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species occurs in grasslands, open woodlands and second-growth forest (Hoogstraal 1951). It has a gestation length of approximately 180 days, with typically one young, and rarely twins. Age at sexual maturity is 8-12 months, with a life span of 12-20 years. This species is diurnal, browses on leaves, and lives in small herds (Wemmer 1998). This species has a group size up to 27 individuals, but usually 7–14 (with much smaller groups reported in heavily hunted areas; Oliver and Villamor1992).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted for food by local people, who also use hides for drums and antlers for decoration.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened due to hunting pressure and human settlement and agricultural expansion over its very limited range, coupled by the evident lack of effective and sustained enforcement of the strong local protective legislation (W. Oliver pers. comm. and unpubl.). Hunting was particularly severe during the mid-1970s (Grimwood 1976), but seemingly declined in most areas during the 1980s and 1990s, except on Calauit where hunting pressure increased dramatically following the resettlement of the island by former residents under the auspices of the ‘Balik (Back to) Calauit Movement’. In 1986, 51 out of the 256 families evicted from the island ten years earlier had re-settled on the island, and by 1992 the settlers numbered nearly 500 people (Oliver 1993, W. Oliver pers. comm.). Much of the hunting of the species is recreational, and also to provide venison to the local markets (W. Oliver pers. comm.). More recently, pressure on the habitat has increased (and presumably hunting pressure also), due to resettlements of victims of typhoon Haiyan, and squatting of outsiders in Busuanga (P. Widmann pers. comm. 2014). On Calauit, introduced African ungulate populations are increasing but are probably not competing with Calamian Deer (Calauit was originally stocked with giraffe, zebra, impala, waterbuck, gazelle, eland, topi and bushbuck acquired from Kenya). A presidential proclamation that precluded removal or control of exotic species, and the movement or management of Calamian Deer on Calauit Island was recently amended, thereby also potentially enabling the better future control of the exotic ungulate populations, though in fact many of these populations have also been seriously reduced by poaching. While relatively large parts of Busuanga and Culion Islands are still undeveloped and sparsely inhabited, there are no proper reserves on either.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Calamian Deer occurs in the Calauit Island Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary (37.4 km2), which was established in 1976 to protect a collection of free-ranging African ungulates (see under Threats). Protection is inadequate and there are no management plans (Oliver 1993). Several hundred local people were evicted at that time it was established, but many of these have since returned to settle illegally (Oliver and Villamor 1993). Thirty animals were introduced to Calauit in 1977 to supplement a small relict population (Orig and Rosell 1994).

The following conservation actions are recommended:
  1. Monitor current status on all the three islands and determine population trends. Evaluate levels of hunting and habitat loss.
  2. Strengthen existing protected area system via establishment of new (additional) reserves and development and implementation of properly structured conservation management plan for Calauit that includes improved infrastructure, and measures to combat poaching.
  3. Agree and establish a zoning system within Calauit in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, which enforces strict protection of the core area.
  4. Establish protected areas on Culion and Busuanga, based on habitat and deer status surveys.
  5. Undertake behavioural and ecological research of Calauit Deer to determine management requirements. Conduct more detailed studies in selected areas.
  6. Initiate a conservation education program using Calamian Deer as a flagship species to promote a wide variety of related conservation activities, including combating the bushmeat trade.
  7. The species is now thought to have gone extinct on the main island of Palawan relatively recently (Piper et al. 2008). It is suspected that loss of habitat due to sea level rise and transformation of grass- and open woodlands into closed forests are the main reasons for the extinction of the species on Palawan. Due to human activities many of these semi-open habitats now exist again in the former range on Palawan. Reintroduction to the main island of Palawan may therefore be one tool to reduce the extinction risk of the very localized and declining populations in the Calamian group of islands.
This species is listed on CITES Appendix I.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.7. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.6. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
4. Education & awareness -> 4.1. Formal education
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Handicrafts, jewellery, etc.
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Sport hunting/specimen collecting
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Alviola III, P.L. 1998. Land vertebrates of Calauit Island, Palawan, Philippines. Asia Life Sciences 7(2): 157-170.

de Guia, A.P.O. 1999. Distribution of non-volant mammals of nine small islands of the Calamianes Island Group, Northern Palawan, Philippines. Asia Life Sciences 8(2): 121-128.

Eduardo, S.L., Neri, I. and Bravo, M.V.A. 1991. Notes on parasites of captive Calamian deer, Cervus (Axis) calamianensis (Artiodactyla: Ruminantia). Philippine Journal of Veterinary Medicine 28(2): 61-64.

Geist, V. 1998. Three-pronged Old World deer. In: V. Geist (ed.), Deer of the World: Their Evolution, Behaviour, and Ecology, pp. 55-80. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA.

Grimwood, I. 1976. Hunting a deer to extinction. Oryx 13(3): 294–296.

Groves, C.P. and Grubb, P. 1987. Relationships of Living Deer. In: C.M. Wemmer (ed.), Biology and Management of the Cervidae, pp. 21-59. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Grubb, P. 2005. Artiodactyla. In: D.E. Wilson & D.M. Reeder (ed.), Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed), pp. 637-722. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

Haltenorth, T. 1963. Klassifikation der Säugetiere: Artiodactyla I. Handbuch der Zoologie 8(32): 1-167.

Heaney, L.R., Balete, D.S., Dollar, M.L., Alcala, A.C., Dans, A.T.L., 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.

Hoogstraal, H. 1951. Philippine Zoological Expedition, 1946-1947. Narrative and itinerary. Fieldiana: Zoology 33: 1-86.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. Available at: (Accessed: 23 June 2015).

Maala, C.P., Arca, R.R., Villamor, C. and Bravo, M. 1990. Comparative anatomy of the skull of the Calamian deer (Axis calamianensis). Philippine Journal of Veterinary Medicine 27(2): 53-61.

Meijaard, I. and Groves, C.P. 2004. Morphometrical relationships between South-east Asian deer (Cervidae, tribe Cervini): evolutionary and biogeographic implications. Journal of Zoology 263: 179-196.

Montulet, J.-P. 1984. Les Cervides du Monde Entier. Editions, Lechevalier, Paris, France.

Oliver, W.L.R. 1992. The distribution of the Calamian deer Cervus (=Axis) calamianensis and the Palawan bearded pig Sus barbatus ahoenobarbus in the Calamian Islands. Unpublished report concerning a survey made in 1992.

Oliver, W.L.R. 1993. Threatened endemic artiodactyls of the Philippines: status and future priorities. International Zoo Yearbook 32: 131-144.

Oliver, W.L.R. 1996. Calamian Deer (Cervus calamianensis) conservation program. IUCN/SSC Deer Specialist Group Newsletter 13: 14-15.

Oliver, W.L.R. 1996. In search of the Calamian deer. ZOONOOZ 69(4): 10-15.

Oliver, W.L.R. and Villamor, C. 1993. Calamian deer field survey and (proposed) conservation program. IUCN/SSC Deer Specialist Group Newsletter 11.

Oliver, W.L.R. and Wirth, R. 1997. Conservation programmes for threatened endemic species in the Philippines. International Zoo News 43(5): 337-348.

Orig, A.P. and Rosell, R.G. 1994. Population estimates of exotic and native mammal species of Calauit Island. Wildlife Biology Laboratory, University of the Philippines at Los Banos. Unpublished.

Paguntalan, L.J., Gomez, R.K. and Oliver, W. 2010. Threatened species of the Calamian Islands: developing and integrated regional biodiversity conservation strategy in a global priority area, Phase II - biological survey. Philippines biodiversity Conservation Foundation, in collaboration with Katala Foundation and National Geographic Society Conservation Trust.

Rico, E.L. and Oliver, W.L.R. 2008. Biodiversity conservation priorities in the Calamian Islands – gaps and opportunities. Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD, Government of the Philippines).

Shave, J. 1980. Calamian Deer. Help Newsletter 3: 14-15.

Wemmer, C. 1998. Deer Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Citation: Widmann, P. & Lastica, E. 2015. Axis calamianensis. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T2446A22156678. . Downloaded on 19 June 2018.
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