Docile, Durable, Deer

By Anis Shakur
Wednesday – July 22, 2020
NEW YORK (United States): The deer is an indolent and gregarious creature that most of us comprehend by appearance but few by competence. Ever avid, dynamic, it seems deer is durable and delicate in the very core of the nature.

Less perceptible, perhaps, are his tenacity and his dexterity to snugly outwit a pursuer. With his soft brown eyes, gentle, generous demeanour, slender, stout limbs and timid, trusting etiquettes it is really designed as a vivid, vigorous, versatile beauty, built to last in head and heart, in flesh and blood, indeed to be endeared.

He conspicuously contrives to bear the terror of raucous winter that sends most other animals into hibernation or a long sleep respectively in their dens, hollow trees or grottos in the ground.

He fantastically flourishes despite our ever-augmenting farming, lumbering and road building. Today, deer is amongst a fortunate few creatures whose incessant potentiality and worldwide pampering we still honour.

Over and above, his adroitness to observe a pin-drop silence when encountering some perilous, heart testing moments is really remarkable.

Its natural life span is usually not more than eleven years. Deer family comprises of varied, subtle, refined members. Each species not only stringently adopt its unwritten code of ethics in their life-style, but also adhere to it tenaciously and, later on, transfer the same to the posterity.

To acquaint the readers with a few members of the otherwise vast, virile deer clan, some of them are, Moose, which is the largest member of the deer family, Sambhar, antelope, Steenbok, Caribou, Oryx, eland, impala, Wildebeest or Gnu, elk, kakar, topi, hog deer, waterbuck, white-tail deer, etc.

Impressive Impala: Like all other antelopes, impala is also vegetarian, dependent on green, succulent plants. Scattered throughout the woodlands, impalas’ dwell in herds of mostly fifty or more. The male impala sports gorgeous horns, whereas the poor female impala is devoid of this privilege.

An adult dominant male impala would zealously defend its territory and the harem, of course, when he too is at its zenith. The juvenile, inexperienced males or bachelors, have their domain afar from the cherished, charming harem and its leader.

Territoriality is irrefutably the basis of impala's social system. It becomes all the more apparent during the rainy seasons. Occasionally, two influential males who hails from their respective lands, stir up each other by displaying, if circumstances compel, squabbling, like ruffians exploiting and risking their very tools of survival, which are their gifted, sharp horns, just for the fun of it.

Although the leading male takes all the tears and toil to safeguard its prized possession, but this is not always so facile. Since frequently the females, violating the sanctity of a rival's land, daringly trespass them in the true lady like fashion.

But such tragedies occur only when an opponent's land offers ample of food. Impala is aptly known to be the incontestable champion of high jump. A buck claims its superiority by evincing his glazing antlers and the mighty muscles studded over its shoulders and neck.

The healthier and heftier a male, the more refined are his fighting techniques. It takes a vigorous training of two and a half years to become a veteran warrior. The combatants grapple savagely, frequently they are wounded, and sometimes one is even killed.

A young buck has absolutely no prospects of a victory. The bone of contention behind all these bloody battles is that there are always more ‘to be territorial leaders, than the total territories.’

Oryx: This graceful antelope, which is now thought to be extinct in the wild, has become an international emblem of the measures for the conservation in an imperfect world.

The Arabian Oryx is an elegant, white and chocolate coloured antelope with noticeable, exquisite straight horns. Once, perhaps decades ago, it used to roam in Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait within a natural, pristine environment in the wild, in herds of six to hundred animals.

They graze usually in a group of ten with an adult dominant male. If other animals are introduced, then fight ensues until a new pecking order is established.

Deer’s anatomy: Besides the soaring leaps, slamming stops and quick turns are made possible by his anatomy. The long bones of the foreleg are not directly joined to his skeleton. Instead, the shoulder blades are fastened to the body muscles underneath the skin with springy tissues, allowing them a free-floating, ball bearing flexibility.

Don’t you speculate that with such telling-talent, deer, to the delight of us all, seems to have come in our wonderful wildlife world just to convey this memorable message: “The meek shall inherit the earth.”

Next in TDR’s Wildlife, “Gorilla”

Info: Prominent writer, Anis Shakur, is an essential employee in the division of animal resources, SUNY Downstate, and the animal research, VA Brooklyn.