Journal of Ethology

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 377–382 | Cite as

A case of female-perpetrated infanticide in captive white-lipped deer (Cervus albirostris)

  • Pavel Král
  • Jiří Bukovský
  • Jan Pluháček
  • Marie Voldřichová
  • Jan RobovskýEmail author
Short Communication


Although infanticide is widespread among mammals, this phenomenon in ungulates, and more specifically in cervids, remains very rare. We report a case of infanticide in a captive group of white-lipped deer (Cervus albirostris). The infanticide of a non-filial newborn female calf was carried out by two females. The attack was intentional and the attackers killed the calf by biting it and kicking it with their forelegs. The mother of the calf, which was multiparous, witnessed the scene, but no important intervention of the mother was recorded during the attack. This is the first report of female-perpetrated infanticide among cervids. Resource competition, adoption avoidance, pathological behaviour of the infanticidal individuals, and social hierarchy competition may explain the killing.


Behaviour Captivity Cervid Resource competition Pathological behaviour Social hierarchy competition 



We would like to express our gratitude to the editor and four anonymous referees for their critical review and very valuable suggestions, which greatly improved the final version of the manuscript, and to Anton Baer for professional language editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures carried out in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ústí nad Labem ZooÚstí nad LabemCzech Republic
  2. 2.LibeňCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of EthologyInstitute of Animal SciencePraha-UhříněvesCzech Republic
  4. 4.Ostrava ZooOstravaCzech Republic
  5. 5.Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  6. 6.National Museum of Agriculture—OhradaHluboká nad VltavouCzech Republic
  7. 7.Liberec ZooLiberecCzech Republic

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