“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Helena Olsson, head of the Parken Zoo, to The Local.
“It’s so small and charming – even when they’re fully grown they’re still tiny, tiny, tiny!”
Parken Zoo, which is situated in Eskilstuna in eastern Sweden, can now boast being responsible for the first ever Swedish birth of a mouse deer.
“We’re all very happy that its parents, Musse, 1 and Mimmi, 2, liked each other and mated as soon as they were put together.”
Olsson explained that the deer, which was born last Tuesday, was watched by the zoo’s visitors as it stood up by itself only moments after it was born.
“Visitors thought it was just an ordinary day but it turned out to be a very spectacular event happening in front of their eyes,” Olson explained, adding that there are not more than a hundred mouse deer living in captivity worldwide.
The mouse deer, also known as the Chevrotain, is related to both elk and deer and is found in their natural habitat in south-east Asia, in countries like India, Thailand, and Indonesia. When fully grown they are 55 centimetres in length and weigh around two kilogrammes.
The mouse deer is an endangered species and Olsson explains that the new arrival marks the zoo’s first success in their attempts to preserve the future of the species.
For those eager to see the pint-sized Chevrotain, it’s already on public display at the zoo, but it’s still anybody’s guess whether it’s a male or female.
“Since mouse deer are very protective and as we want to respect their privacy at all costs, we won’t know what gender it is for a few months,” Olsson told The Local.
“And no names have been discussed as yet, but it will probably be given an Asian name since that’s where it comes from.”