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Welfare of farmed musk deer: changes in the biological characteristics of musk deer in farming environments

By Lan He, LinHai Li, WenXia Wang, Gang Liu, ShuQiang Liu, WenHua Liu, DeFu Hu

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Musk deer are an important economic wildlife resource, and long-term over-use has resulted in a sharp population decrease in the wild. Farming of musk deer is important to prevent the shrinking wild population from being hunted for their musk. Musk deer farming has a history of more than 60 years in China, but many problems persist. Musk deer are alert, timid and solitary in the wild, and the captive environment cannot satisfy their natural needs, leading to problems in musk deer farming. Understanding the biological characteristics of musk deer may help to identify ways for improving the welfare of farmed musk deer. In addition to gaining musk, musk deer farming can play a role in the reintroduction of musk deer, which complicates things as musk production requires tame domesticated musk deer whereas successful reintroduction requires untamed and less domesticated ones. In this article, we compare captive musk deer and wild musk deer for morphology, behavior, physiology, genetics, and nutrition, and discuss how to organize farming environment and management to satisfy biological needs of musk deer in order to improve their welfare and increase the population of farmed musk deer.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 156
Pages 1-5
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Publisher Elsevier
Language English
Author Address Laboratory of Non-invasive Research Technology for Endangered Species, College of Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, No. 35 Tsinghua East Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100083,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animal physiology
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. APEC countries
  7. Asia
  8. Biological resources
  9. Characteristics
  10. China
  11. Deer
  12. Developing countries
  13. Farms
  14. Game animals
  15. Genetics
  16. Mammals
  17. Nutrition
  18. physiology
  19. Physiology and biochemistry
  20. Reintroduction
  21. Ruminants
  22. ungulates
  23. vertebrates
  24. Wild animals
  25. wildlife