Axis calamianensis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Axis calamianensis
Species Authority: (Heude, 1888)
Common Name(s):
English Calamian Deer, Philippine Deer, Calamian Hog Deer, Calamanian Deer
French Cerf-cochon Calamien
Spanish Ciervo De Los Calamianes, Ciervo Porquerizo De Los Calamianes
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 in press).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Oliver, W., Widmann, P. & Lastica, E.
Reviewer(s): Black, P.A. & Gonzalez, S. (Deer Red List Authority)
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence is less than 5,000 km², all individuals are in fewer than five locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat and in the number of mature individuals.
1996 Endangered (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Endangered
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Vulnerable (IUCN 1990)
1988 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

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 1980’s (Oliver and Villamor, 1993). However, it was reported to be extinct on at least 7 (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, in prep.). It is not known from anywhere else in the region, including mainland Palawan, nor the larger and intervening of island of Linacapan.
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 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, in prep.) 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.
Population Trend: Decreasing

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 Villamor, 1992).
Systems: Terrestrial

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 1980’ and 1990’s, 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; pers. comm.). Much of the hunting of the species is recreational, and also to provide venison to the local markets (W. Oliver pers. comm.). On Calauit, introduced African ungulate populations are increasing but are probably not competing with Calamian deer. 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: It 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. 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 behavioral 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 combatting the bushmeat trade.

This species is listed on CITES Appendix I. There is a captive population of 54 individuals in the San Diego Zoo (as of March 2008).

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 and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed), pp. 637-722. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

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 88: 1-61.

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

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.

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.

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: Oliver, W., Widmann, P. & Lastica, E. 2008. Axis calamianensis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 22 May 2015.
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