Most subpopulations of endangered huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus) fail to recover, frequently due to osteopathology. Equivalent pathology was detected only postmortem in an additional deer 365 km further north, stressing the need to improve clinical evaluations of live huemul.
Captured on a farm and attended by authorities in charge of huemul, the deer was considered apt for relocation and release. Delays with attendance and lack of reversal drugs resulted in his death. The subsequent necropsy revealed severe osteopathology particularly in mandibles and maxillae. Such disease in another southern population affected 57+ % among dead adults, and 86% among live adults. The present case stems from a new subpopulation, isolated 365 km further north. Such severe pathology demands that individuals be rehabilitated, especially relevant with severely endangered species, because liberations will cause premature death and loss of reproductive lifetime. Live huemul must be examined utmost professionally especially regarding this pathophysiognomy. This incidence represents the typical situation of extant huemul, being displaced from their traditional migratory behavior to utilize fertile low-elevation habitat. This young male may have been dispersing, but reaching valleys usually leads to death due to locally intense anthropogenic activities.