Tufted Deer – The Path Well Travelled
Mountain and forest wisdom, signalling the alarm, doing surprisingly well in oppressive atmospheres or pressing situations, finding it difficult to stray from known paths, preferring to stay covered, sheltering yourself for the sake of safety, hiding, confusing your rivals, chaos and chaotic energy, alertness, the power of observation, finely tuned instincts, comparing yourself to others, timidity and shyness, the path well-travelled, doing terribly when in enclosed spaces, needing freedom and finding it difficult to be trapped by your circumstances.
The tufted deer is a small, crepuscular deer with a black tuft of hair on its head, related to the muntjac. It is found in China, Tibet and Myanmar. They live in damp, mountain forests, up to 4500 metres above sea-level. The forests can be deciduous or evergreen, as long as they have thick understorey and fresh water available. They are sometimes found in cultivated environments and can handle some proximity to humans. Tufted deer also prefer salt licks to be available in their environment. They use their white tail to signal alarm, like many other species of deer. Males have sharp canines that protrude as fangs. They eat vegetation, such as grasses, leaves, twigs and fruits, both browsing and grazing.
They are solitary, or found in bonded pairs, and travel along fixed routes in their territory. Males defend their territories, and will fight with other males, using their elongated canines to slash at each other. They are generally timid and like a lot of cover. They will often bark when alarmed, before running in a hard-to-follow pattern. They are cryptic, and hard to study, due to their elusiveness. They do poorly in captivity and – unlike many other animals – can have their lifespan threatened while in an enclosed environment, where stress from human visitation often causes them to pass away from stress-related ailments. They are predated upon by carnivores like the leopard and the dhole. They are threatened by hunting (for food and leather) and habitat loss and degradation.