Elaphodus cephalophus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Elaphodus cephalophus
Species Authority: Milne-Edwards, 1872
Common Name(s):
English Tufted Deer
Taxonomic Notes: Four subspecies are recognized by Wilson and Reeder (2005):
E. c. cephalophus Milne-Edwards, 1872 (Tufted Deer): southwestern China (Qinghai, western Sichuan, Guizhou, northern Yunnan), northeastern Myanmar;
E. c. michianus (Swinhoe, 1874) (Michie’s Tufted Deer): southeastern China (coastal provinces)
E. c. ichangensis Lydekker, 1904 (Ichang Tufted Deer): central and southern China (Shanxi, eastern Sichuan, Hubei);
E. c. fociensus Lydekker, 1904 (of doubtful taxonomic status): China (Ohtaishi and Gao 1990).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Harris, R.B.
Reviewer(s): Black, P.A. & Gonzalez, S. (Deer Red List Authority)
Listed as Near Threatened because this species is in probably significant decline (but most likely at a rate of less than 30% over three generation (approximately 21 years)) because it is being over-harvested, making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable under criterion A2d.
1996 Data Deficient (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Data Deficient

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found in central and southern China and there are old records from northern Myanmar (Groves 2005, Smith and Xie 2008). There has been fairly extensive camera trapping in the Myanmar range of the species where it is known from old specimens, but these surveys have failed to locate the species (Than Zaw pers. comm.). If it does persist in Myanmar it must have an isolated habitat, or limited elevational or geographic range that has prevented its detection; the Wildlife Conservation Sociery surveys have looked for this species many times without any result (J.W. Duckworth pers. comm.).
China; Myanmar
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: No documented estimates of population size or trend are available, although Sheng et al. (1998) guessed that there might be 300,000 to 500,000 animals in China. Little work is being done on this species and its status is poorly known.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is known to live in high damp forests up to the tree line and close to water, between 300 and 800 m asl in southeastern China; between 1,500-2,600 m asl in the middle of its range; and to as high as 4,750 m asl in western Sichuan (Ohtaishi and Gao 1990). Its diet is grass, some browse, and fruits. They are secretive and crepuscular, and are usually solitary or found in pairs. They live within well-defined home territories where they travel along well-established paths, rendering them vulnerable to snares. Rut occurs between September and December, single or twin fawns are born in April to July after about six months gestation, and animals are sexually mature in about nine months (Sheng and Ohtaishi 1993). It lives on mountainous terrain covered by dense forests. It eats bamboo and herbs (Zhang et al. 2004). Zhang et al. (2004) also found that tufted deer habitats were characterized by relatively high shrub and herb density, but also a relatively high proportion of open land. Historically, this species was known from high damp forest in the northeastern Myanmar just below the snow line.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In China, this species is hunted by locals (Ohtaishi and Gao 1990). Although data are lacking, given the very high level of harvesting of large mammals in China, it is reasonable to expect that this species in in decline. In Myanmar, hunting for trade to China is a pervasive threat that almost certainly applies to this species (J.W. Duckworth pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is not listed by CITES. It is included in the Chinese Red List as Vulnerable A2bcd+3bcd (Smith and Xie 2008), but it is not classified as a national protected species. It is listed as a provincially protected species in Hunan, Sichuan, Tibet, and Gansu. Being a widespread species, it is likely to be present in many protected areas. There is a need to determine its current status in the wild across is its wide range in China. Activities should include field reconnaissance, population censuses, demographic surveys, ecological studies, and investigations into human use of the species. More effort is required to confirm the existence and status of the species in Myanmar, particularly in the north eastern part of Kachin State (J.W. Duckworth and Than Zaw pers. comm.).

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2007. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Ohtaishi, N. and Gao, Y. T. 1990. A review of the distribution of all species of deer (Tragulidae, Moschidae and Cervidae) in China. Mammal Review 20(2-3): 125-144.

Sheng, H. I. and Ohtaishi, N. 1993. The status of deer in China. In: N. Ohtaishi and H. I. Sheng (eds), Deer of China: Biology and Management, pp. 8. Elsevier, Oxford, UK.

Sheng, H. L., Ohtaishi, N. and Lu, H. J. 1998. The Mammals of China. China Forestry Press, Beijing, China.

Smith, A. and Xie, Y. 2008. The Mammals of China. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. 2005. Mammal Species of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Zhang, Z., Wei, F., Li, M., Zhang, B., Liu, X., Hu, J. 2004. Microhabitat separation during winter among sympatric giant pandas, red pandas, and tufted deer: the effects of diet, body size, and energy metabolism. Canadian Journal of Zoology 82: 1451-1458.

Citation: Harris, R.B. 2008. Elaphodus cephalophus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 24 May 2015.
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