name = Huemul

image_caption = Patagonian Huemul
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Artiodactyla
familia = Cervidae
genus = "Hippocamelus"
genus_authority = Leuckart, 1816
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = "Hippocamelus bisulcus" Taxobox authority | author = Molina | date = 1782 "Hippocamelus antisensis" Taxobox authority | author = d'Orbigny | date = 1834

"Hippocamelus" is a genus of Cervidae, the deer family. It compromises two endangered species, commonly known as huemuls or güemals (with variants on last vowel), and taruca. The huemuls have a stocky, thick, and short-legged body. These mammals live at high altitudes in the summer, then move down the mountains in the fall and spend the winter in sheltered forested valleys. Areas with fresh water are preferred. The huemuls are herbivores which feed primarily on herbaceous plants and shrubs as well as sedges, lichens, and grasses found between the rocks on high peaks.

The Patagonian Huemul ("Hippocamelus bisulcus"), also known as the South Andean Deer, is found in Chile and Argentina. Huemules live in groups the size of which depends on several factors, often at 2-3 but currently still reaching 11 animals, but in the past over 100 deer; these groups are made up of a female and her young. Males at times might be alone.

The Peruvian Guemal ("Hippocamelus antisensis"), known locally as Taruca, is found in the highland cloud forests of Peru, as well as parts of Bolivia, and tree-less Puna grasslands. They live in high altitudes, from 2,500 to 5,200 meters above sea level. Social habits include grazing in flexible groups of 3-14 animals consisting of one or two males and several females. Roe and Rees(1976) "Preliminary Observations of the Taruca (Hippocamelus antisensis: Cervidae) in Southern Peru" Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 57, No. 4., pp. 722-730. ] The Guemal is active during daytime and has a lifespan of about 10 years. The conservation status of the Peruvian guemal is currently considered vulnerable.

Huemul occur in several national parks in Chile and neighbouring parts of Argentina and have been on the Endangered list since 1976. They are endangered primarily due to human impacts such as deforestation, habitat fragmentation by roads, introduction of non-native mammals such as farm animals, and poaching. They are in a classic "extinction spiral" marked by increasingly small, isolated populations and are now considered critically endangered.

The huemul is, along with the condor, the national animal of Chile.


External links

*ARKive - [http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/mammals/Hippocamelus_bisulcus/ images and movies of the Chilean huemul "(Hippocamelus bisulcus)"]
* [http://www.animalinfo.org/species/artiperi/hippbisu.htm Animal Info - South Andean Deer]
* [http://www.nationalgeographic.com/wildworld/profiles/photos/nt/nt1003aS.html Photo of "Hippocamelus antisensis"]
* [http://www.deerlab.org/huemul.html Several publications on huemul]
* [http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Hippocamelus_bisulcus.html#Description A most comprehensive site, recommended by SCIENCE 315, 2007]

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