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Last Updated: Monday, 19 May, 2003, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Rare deer reared in caravan
Colin the Pere David deer
Colin was fed by tube at first
A rare deer fawn rejected by his mother at birth is being reared in a caravan.

The Pere David's deer is a critically endangered species, virtually extinct in the wild.

The fawn, named Colin, spends the night with Carolyn Morrison, an animal keeper at the Blair Drummond Safari Park in Stirlingshire.

Workers at the park ensured the young animal survived the first few hours of his life by feeding him through a tube placed in his throat.

The deer, named after local vet Colin Scott who helped deliver him five weeks ago, has now taken to being bottle-fed by Ms Morrison.

He's still a bit wary of things, but he can also be quite lively, even cheeky
Carolyn Morrison
She said: "It was very much a last resort, because you really don't want to rear them away from their parents, but in this case we had no choice.

"There was no other way of bringing him on, and really it was either that, or he would almost certainly have died."

Ms Morrison said the fawn's feeds were getting larger and he was gradually growing stronger.

"He had to be fed every three hours initially and I was having to get up quite often during the night, so it was just as easy to bring him home, where he stays in a little pen," she added.

"He's still a bit wary of things, but he can also be quite lively, even cheeky.

Colin the Pere David deer
Carolyn and Colin relaxing at home
"When he goes outside to run about, he chases kids up and down the grass."

Colin's future, however, remains uncertain as he may have to move on since it is unlikely he will be able to stay with the existing group of five adult deer.

Native to China, the deer takes its name from the French missionary and naturalist, Father Armand David, who in 1865 managed to observe the animals in the Emperor of China's high-walled Imperial Hunting park, near Beijing.

Several specimens were sent to Europe where they flourished in captivity, while the species largely perished in China in the early 1900s before being successfully re-introduced towards the end of the century.

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