Sika deer base unveils plans to develop agricultural tourism

The largest sika deer breeding base in Songjiang plans to develop agricultural tourism, as the deer industry, a time-honored industry in the suburban district, recovers following the easing of the COVID-19 epidemic in the country, according to the district’s agriculture authority.

China’s strictest ban on eating wildlife was ordered on February 24 when the country was in the grip of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, and all of Songjiang’s sika deer breeding bases temporarily halted their operation during that time.

Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued the National Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources List to regulate the nation’s legal breeding and diet of livestock and poultry. The inclusion of sika deer on the list gradually allowed Songjiang’s deer industry to revive.

Inside the breeding center of Shanghai Yurong Deer Industry Co, the largest sika deer breeding base in Songjiang, sika deer in threes and fours gracefully walk and demonstrate their tender gestures at barns enclosed with mesh fences and paved with red bricks. Staff of the base feed the deer and clean and disinfect the barns.

“The standing stock of the base is 107 heads of sika deer. Since the New Year of 2020 we haven’t sold any of our deer products yet,” said Lu Chen, general manager of Yurong Deer Industry.

Part of the breeding base’s deer were entrusted under the care of a breeding center in northeast China during the renovation of the base’s barns earlier this year, therefore the standing stock number this year is lower than last year’s, according to Lu.

“We estimate the standing stock of the base’s sika deer will rise to 1,500 or 2,000 heads, for with large-scale operation we can better cooperate with pharmaceutical companies and sell our antlers. In addition we will include agriculture tourism projects, such as parent-kid activity and popular science education about sika deer, into our operation,” Lu added, as he rejoiced over the sika deer’s inclusion on the list.

As a traditional agricultural industry, sika deer breeding has existed in Songjiang for thousands of years and the district now has three sika deer breeding bases.

“Antlers are our major purpose for breeding deer,” said Lu.