Barasingha Deer
(Rucervus duvaucelii syn. Cervus duvaucelii)

The barasingha, also called swamp deer is a deer species currently found in isolated localities in northern and central India and southwestern Nepal. It is extinct in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

In the 19th century, Barasingha deer ranged along the base of the Himalayas from Upper Assam to the west of the Jumna River, throughout Assam, in a few places in the Indo-Gangetic plain from the Eastern Sundarbans to Upper Sind, and locally throughout the area between the Ganges and Godavari as far east as Mandla. Barasingha deer were also common in parts of the Upper Nerbudda valley and to the south in Bastar. They frequent flat or undulating grasslands and generally keep in the outskirts of forests. Sometimes, they are also found in open forest.

In the 1960s, the total population was estimated at 1600 to less than 2150 individuals in India and about 1600 in Nepal. Today, the distribution is much reduced and fragmented due to major losses in the 1930s–1960s following unregulated hunting and conversion of large tracts of grassland to cropland. Barasingha deer occur in the Kanha National Park of Madhya Pradesh, in 2 localities in Assam, and in only 6 localities in Uttar Pradesh. They are regionally extinct in West Bengal. They are also probably extinct in Arunachal Pradesh. A few survive in Assam’s Kaziranga and Manas National Parks.

Barasingha deer are mainly grazers. They largely feed on grasses and aquatic plants. They feed throughout the day with peaks during the mornings and late afternoons to evenings.

In 1992, there were about 50 individuals in five Indian zoos and 300 in various zoos in North America and Europe.

Barasingha Deer at the Bowmanville Zoo

The Bowmanville Zoo has the last herd of Barasingha deer in Canada.

Monkey biscuits suitable for feeding many of the zoos animals including the Barasingha deer are available at the entrance and cost $2 per bag.