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Odisha SA

Odisha – Sambar

Sambar Deer

Common Name: Sambar deer

Local Name: Sambar (Hindi)

Scientific Name: Rusa unicolor

Description: Sambar is the largest Indian deer that has elegant horns. The deer generally reaches a height of 102 to 160 cm at the shoulder. A full-grown stage weighs around 225 to more than 320kg. The female sambars are smaller than the males. The general body color is brown with a yellowish or greyish tinge. Females are comparatively lighter in color. The male sambars often possess a dense mane. In fully adult individuals, the antlers reach up to 110cm in length, and the majority of the stags cast off their antlers between the end of March to mid-April. The antlers again start growing in May. The average lifespan of sambar deer is about 16 to 20 years.

Distribution: Sambar deer is mainly found in the forested hillsides in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and South China. Sambars are herbivores and usually feed at night or during twilight and retire in the dense cover of deciduous shrubs and grasses at daybreak. Sambars are the favorite prey of large predators like tigers, Asiatic lions, leopards, and wild dogs.

Threats: Sambar is threatened by poaching, habitat loss, and fragmentation of habitat. Sambar flesh is the most sought-after wild meat. Antlers are displayed as trophies and sold as souvenirs to tourists. Antlers are often powdered and used in native medicines as an ‘aphrodisiac.’

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