T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Deer (Rusa) Rusa timorensis

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Rusa
Species: R. timorensis
Binonimail name: Rusa  timorensis
Synonyms: Cervus celebensis, Cervus hippelaphus, Cervus Lepidus, Cervus moluccensis, Cervus peronii, Cervus russa, Cervus avistocki,
Cervus timorensis, Cervus timorensis ssp. rusa, Cervus tunjuc
Common names: Rusa, Javan rusa, Sunda sambar, Javan deer

The Rusa timorensis (Javan rusa) is a deer native to the islands of Indonesia and East Timor. They were accidentally introduced into New Zealand as Sambar deer in 1907 and it was not until 1955 that they were recognized as a separate species (Harris, 1970)
Javan rusa occupies the smallest range of deer in New Zealand, being present only in shrubland in the eastern Bay of Plenty, south-east and east of Rotorua. They are one of the most elusive deer to be found in the New Zealand bush. They are wary and spend much of the day holed up in thick vegetation cover, feeding at night.
The main areas inhabited by Rusa are scrub-hardwood forests or bracken fern/manuka shrubland and they often feed on adjacent farm paddocks and crops. They browse and graze native vegetation. Males rub bark off trees with their antlers.

Javan rusa is a medium-sized deer, with broad, rounded ears. They reach a shoulder height >1.06m and can weigh >135kg. Females are smaller. The males have a dark reddish-brown summer coat that changes to dark greyish-brown in autumn. Females are a pale yellowish-red colour in summer and greyish-red in winter. The chin, throat and underparts cream. Only males have lyre-shaped, three-tined antlers which are cast during December-January. New antler growth is complete by May. Javan rusa look short and stubby because they have relatively short legs.
The rut commences mid-July and continues into August. The gestation period is about 8 months. Fawns are born March – April.

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is a risk to the deer and cattle farming industry. TB is known to occur in wild red and fallow deer, although they are generally thought to be ‘spillover’ hosts i.e. TB is more likely to be found in deer inhabiting areas where the possums have TB and are at high densities, rather than through deer to deer transmission. TB has not been observed in Rusa deer but, as with many species of introduced mammals, they have the potential to carry it.
(Text thanks to http://www.pestdetective.org.nz)



Distribution map of the Javan Deer (Red area)

 

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/