Eld's Deer Dies at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

On September 17, an 4-year-old female Eld's deer was spooked during a semiannual fire safety check on the sprinkler system at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va. The safety test produced a startling noise to which the deer reacted by running into the enclosure's barrier causing a fatal laceration to a front leg and major artery. Veterinarians performed surgery but were unsuccessful. Because she was near-term pregnant, veterinary staff performed an emergency C-section. The calf was not alive and could not be resuscitated. Native to Myanmar, Eld's deer are classified as endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature. There are less than 1,500 animals left in the wild as the result of habitat loss and hunting. Fire safety checks are conducted twice annually