Milu reserve expanded to protect rare species

By Chen Meiling and Zhou Lihua | China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-23 09:13
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Milu enjoy their extended habitat at the Shishou Milu National Nature Reserve in Hubei province in October. LEI GANG/FOR CHINA DAILY

The famed deer was once extinct in China, but now its population in the country is growing. Chen Meiling reports in Beijing with Zhou Lihua in Wuhan.

Although wild milu were hunted to extinction in China during the early 20th century, the rare deer species can now be seen in the area around the Yangtze River as it flows through the provinces of Hubei and Hunan.

Recently, the habitat dedicated to milu at the Shishou Milu National Nature Reserve in Hubei province was expanded to cope with the growing population and better protect the species.

Population change in and around the Shishou Milu National Nature Reserve in Shishou, Hubei province CHINA DAILY

In January, a door was opened and 400 milu ran past the wire fence of the reserve's core area to a newly opened buffer zone of 533 hectares. The number of milu was about to reach the upper limit of the reserve's capacity, so the move was aimed at providing more space for the animals and avoiding security risks, the reserve said.

Shishou's warm, moist climate, lush water plants and wetland provide an ideal living environment for the animals.

In the early 1990s, 64 milu from Beijing were introduced to the reserve. Since then, the population has grown to more than 1,500.

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