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|
|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, China.email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org|
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