Pere David’s Deer were first discovered in 1866 by Father Armand David, a French missionary in China. In fact, “Pere” is the French word for “Father,” hence the name! What made the deer species stand out was its unique features: cow-like hooves, camel-like neck, donkey-esque black tufted tail and deer antlers. They are also known for the males’ antlers, where the main beam nearly points completely upward and the longer tines point towards the back.
Sadly, Pere David’s Deer nowadays only exist in captivity. They are completely extinct in the wild, despite efforts to reintroduce them there. Keep this in mind the next time you drive through the park and see these amazing animals. You aren’t seeing “just” deer, you are seeing a rare animal that can only be seen in captivity. That’s pretty remarkable!