THE AXIS DEER (AXIS AXIS ) IN BRIJUNI NATIONAL PARK
2008, 9 (2) p. 317-322
The axis deer (Axis axis) was imported from Germany and introduced into Brijuni in 1911. Brijuni are a group of islands in the Adriatic Sea along the western coast of the southern peak of the Istrian Peninsula in the Republic of Croatia. In 1983 the area was declared a National Park. The objective of this paper was to research the adaptation of the axis deer to living conditions on the islands. Observation has shown that on the Brijuni islands the axis deer lives in herds comprising 10 to 30 individuals. The youngest male deer seeking access to does was four years old, while at the age of fi ve they started roaring. Deer fi ghts are not frequent during roaring period. The natural grazing rhythm is disturbed by the vast number of tourists. The calving periods of the axis deer during the year indicate three well-pronounced ruts, namely January to February, July-August and October-November. They also show that oestrus occurs soon after calving in most of the females. Gestation period of does is 7 to 7.8 months. 85% of the does on the Brijuni Islands produce their offspring in the warmer part of the year, between 1 March and 31 September. The population of the axis deer in the area of the Brijuni National Park is stable, rather numerous (about 100 individuals) and well acclimatized, and as such it presents reproductive material suitable to populate enclosed hunting grounds and big game farms.