Taruca, Hippocamelus antisensis

The taruca (Hippocamelus antisensis), also known as the North Andean deer, can be found in Andes mountains, with a range including Bolivia and Peru, as well as northwestern Argentina and Chile. This species reaches an average height between 2.2 and 2.6 feet, with a weight between 99 and 143 pounds.

The taruca is threatened by habitat loss and hunting, and is in low numbers throughout its range. It is thought that taruca only numbers as much as 17,000 individuals, with less than 10,000 being sexually mature. Within the 10,000 able to breed, there are separated subpopulations that each hold less than 1,000 individuals that are capable of breeding. In Peru, one study showed that a healthy population could become extinct at a rate of ten percent in 100 years, and this may represent the entire population. In 1988, a study that included taruca populations gathered data from locals, and found that in some areas, the species declined by fifty percent in just twenty years. The taruca appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Vulnerable.”

Image Caption: Taruca or North Andean Huemul. Credit: Chris Fryer/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)