History of the Rusa Deer

The Rusa Deer 

The Biological name for this important deer species is Cervus timorensis rusa. Large herds of Java Deer are found in only a few places on Earth. It is a native animal of the primary forests and shows morphological characteristics suitable for surviving there. Its unique character entices true lovers of hunting. Even nature-lovers and wildlife photographers find it interesting.

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Adrian Van Der Stel, a Dutch governor came to Mauritius in 1639 and brought in some Java deer through Vieux Grand Port. The park enclosure to which they were confined crashed after a big storm leading to a scintillating deer escape. The deer quickly regained their freedom in the neighboring forests. It is only after 369 years that foreign hunters are able to approach and chase this magnificent animal in its natural habitat at our hunting site.

Hunting allowed the Cervus deer to colonize the whole territory since their introduction. Fifty years thereon, Governor Lamothius wrote in a report on the fauna that the deer were overabundant. The hunters enabled the species to survive and thrive. Ironically, the deer species had an endangered status in their original habitat - the Java Islands. Thanks to well-planned conservation in the hunting zones and careful breeding in Mauritius, couples of Cervus timorensis rusa were transported from Mauritius to Java in 1989 to improve the Indonesian livestock.

Physical characteristics

Fully grown male Rusa deer weigh 140 – 160 Kg. Like all the deer tribes, only the males have specifically shaped horns. The males use their horns during their fight. The male loses its antlers in mid-December. Re-growth ends in May .The deer’s horns are dense and heavy and these make them very dangerous for its rivals during the fight. The animal’s throat presents an almost white, well-marked towel. It has powerful and outward projecting cheeks. The Rusa deer is identified by its very large broad ears and round eyes. They are placed close to one another, giving the deer a clear field of vision. Their coat goes from very a clear brown to the brownish chocolate for the males.

The odoriferous glands of the Rusa deer are similar to the local deer elaphe. They are situated at the same place, with the back legs (the brush), between the fingers (interdigital), on the drip, under the lower maxillas, between the pivots, the anus and the intersection of the mandibles.

Reproductive period

The rut takes place from mid-July till the end of August according to the photoperiod and the evolution in the females’ estrus. During this magic period of courting the males show their love to the females which are not long in succumbing to their desire. At this time the males become very aggressive and territorial. They are frequently wounded due to fights with other males and often sustain injuries at the eyes and withers. If the wounds aggravate or complications like septicemia arise, the animal is in danger of dying. After the rut, some young males replace the older ones by taking part in the rut thus extending the reproductive period to several weeks.

The shape of the trophies is typical on the basis of the pivots. The deer horns swell backwards to follow the cervical line and to go up towards the dorsal line. This form allows the males to penetrate the primary forest by simply raising his chin. In this position, horns are aligned backwards leading to free movement even in dense forest.

An equal match

The principal advantages of this species are the extraordinary sense of smell, sight and hearing and the perfect command it has in the forest. Being a very intelligent animal, hunting it becomes even more enthralling. It is also one of the hardest deer tribes to hunt. All the hunters of the world who have been able to pursue it do agree on that point!