Huemul, a brief moment of calm in nature

Southern Huemul Deer, Photo © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Expeditions

Also known as South Andean Deer, it is the largest native deer in Patagonia, Chile and Argentina, and it has been on the Endagered species list since 1996. Along with the Andean Condor, they are represented in Chile’s coat of arms.

At present, the Huemul occurs mainly in the Andes of Southern Patagonia, being endemic to these countries and inhabits from close to sea-level up to 3,000 m elevation, and it is found mainly at the forest edge of southern beech (Nothofagus spp.)

Southern Huemul Deer, Photo © Enrique Couve, Far South Expeditions
Southern Huemul Deer, Photo © Enrique Couve, Far South Expeditions

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.

Males can reach 165 cm height and posess a couple of small antlers that can reach 30 cms long. Females are a bit smaller and both of them have a dark brown hair.

Chile's coat of arms
Chile’s coat of arms

Nowadays, we can find this species in the Torres del Paine National Park, close to Grey Glacier, in the periglacial forest. Pingo, Zapata or Dickson Glaciers are also suitable places to observe Huemul within the national park.

Not easy to see, normally when they show up, we can observe a tame behaviour on them, and you can watch them feeding or resting in an unusually calm moment of bonding with nature.

Southern Huemul Deer, Photo © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Expeditions
Southern Huemul Deer, Photo © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Expeditions