June 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

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A six-legged deer has been spotted in Israel

A six-legged deer has been spotted in Israel

A rare six-legged mountain deer has been spotted in Israel. The male deer has an extra pair of legs growing from its back, but wildlife experts say it seems to cope well with the extra appendages.

The discovery was made by an Israeli Army reservist, who discovered it in late March and then sent a photo of the strange-looking creature to the Society for the Conservation of Nature in Israel, or SPNI, an environmental nonprofit, after noticing it had been discovered. “Something strange on her back,” according to the group.

A mountain deer with a pair of extra legs growing from its back, due to a genetic defect, is shown in a photo taken by ecologist Amir Balaban of the Society for the Conservation of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and shared with the media on April 8, 2024. /Photo by: Amir Balaban/ SPNI

A mountain deer with a pair of extra legs growing from its back, due to a genetic defect, is shown in a photo taken by ecologist Amir Balaban of the Society for the Conservation of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and shared with the media on April 8, 2024. /Photo by: Amir Balaban/ SPNI

Amir Balaban, an SPNI conservationist, said in a press release shared with CBS News that the six-legged deer “survived a complex litter and survived as a young individual, dealt with numerous predators that endanger young fawns, and matured.” Alone and as a small individual.” “The adult has managed to live an impressive life in the Nahal Habasur reserve.”

The nature reserve is located in the Negev Desert in southern Israel, a few miles from The war-torn Gaza Strip. The SPNI described it as “one of the most important remaining strongholds of the Israeli deer in the western Negev, especially during the recent war.”

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“Contrary to expectations, the deer is healthy and strong and has three bucks and a fawn from the previous fall. It has been seen hosting females in the fields and the extra legs on its back pose no challenge to it.” He said.

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SPNI attributed the deer's extra legs to a rare genetic disorder called polymelia, or polymelia.

A mountain deer with two extra legs growing from its back is shown with a fawn running behind it in a photo taken by environmental activist Amir Balaban of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and shared with the media on April 8.  2024. / Photography: Amir Balaban/SPNIA mountain deer with two extra legs growing from its back is shown with a fawn running behind it in a photo taken by environmental activist Amir Balaban of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and shared with the media on April 8.  2024. / Photography: Amir Balaban/SPNI

A mountain deer with two extra legs growing from its back is shown with a fawn running behind it in a photo taken by environmental activist Amir Balaban of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and shared with the media on April 8. 2024. / Photography: Amir Balaban/SPNI

Balaban said the animal's genetic defect was most likely hereditary. According to SPNI, it occurs frequently in livestock, birds, and reptiles, but this is the first known example of polymelia to be documented in a mountain deer in the Middle East.

Mountain deer are a protected wild species in Israel. It is estimated that there are only about 5,000 gazelle of endangered species left in the wild.

While mountain deer can be found mostly in Israel, they live throughout the region and can also be spotted in the Palestinian Territories, Turkey, and parts of Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon.

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