Source: Le Defi Media InfoThere are new developments in the deer sector. Watch the video produced by 100% challenge which is reproduced here for educational purposes.
Deer was introduced in Mauritius some 360 years ago. From the 8 heads which were then released, the deer population has now reached some 70,000 head. The deer sector, occupies a total of 25,000 hectares of forest lands, of which 15,000 hectares are privately owned while the difference consist of state lands, which are rented out to farmers.
There exists some 60 deer farms in Mauritius and two types of farming, extensive and intensive, are carried out. Extensive deer rearing, whereby the animals are shot during the hunting season (June to September), is by far the most popular system in place and comprises a herd force of some 60,000 head.
Intensive farming (feedlots) was introduced in the mid 1970s. There are actually 10 intensive farms and the herd force consists of some 10,000 deer. Unlike extensive farming, the animals are reared in paddocks where a rotation system prevents overgrazing and parasite infestations (internal and external). The deer can also be handled at any time in a yard. Moreover, the animals can be shot all year round, provided those shot during the off season hunting period (October to May) are processed through the Central abattoir.
Annual production of deer meat is of the order of 420 tonnes carcass (of which extensive farming accounts for 90 per cent), out of a production capacity of 450 tonnes carcass. The reason of this difference being that a number of farms are actually increasing their herd force. The objective set by farmers is to produce 600 tonnes of deer meat by 2015.
Unlike the fresh beef and milk sectors, deer has a promising potential, provided farmers manage to overcome the marketing constraints, which appear to be the most dominant problem which the sector encounters.