Thursday, October 04, 2007

Red-brocket deer (Mazama americana)

There was a time when red-brocket deer were more common around these parts, but like all fauna, they've taken a dive in population. As man moves in, fauna moves out, or disappears completely. Around the Bosque Santa Lucia region, this decline has come about in part because of over-hunting and in part because of the changing environment from slash and burn farming to mechanized agriculture that favors mono-cultures, in this case, soy and rice.

The red-brocket deer is adapted physically to survive the jungle environment. They are quite small, about knee-high, as I remember them, and the horns are simplified in that there are only two and they slant back making it easier to get through brush. A big rack of horns wouldn't make it in the forest of the Amazon.

This skull was given to me by a local taxi driver in Santarem, who visited the Bosque three years ago with two American musicians. He told me that this animal was from the Trombetas River area, northwest of here.

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