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Animal Behavior and Welfare
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2011;24(10): 1473-1482.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2011.11111    Published online August 24, 2011.
Quantified Analyses of Musk Deer Farming in China: A Tool for Sustainable Musk Production and Ex situ Conservation
Xiuxiang Meng, Baocao Gong, Guang Ma, Leilei Xiang
Adult male musk deer (Moschus spp.) secrete musk, a widely used ingredient in traditional Asian medicine and the international perfume industry. Musk deer are endangered due to historic over-utilization of musk and habitat loss. Musk deer farming, provides an important way of conserving musk deer and ensuring a sustainable musk supply. For over 50 years musk deer farming has been conducted in China with the endangered Alpine musk deer (Moschus sifanicus) the predominant farmed musk deer species. To date, few studies have examined the musk production of captive musk deer. This study analyzed musk-extraction data collected from 1997 to 2009 at Xinglongshan Musk Deer Farm, Gansu, China. The musk-extraction ratio (MER) of captive male musk deer was 90.30% (n = 732), while the annual average musk extraction (AME) per animal was 7.900.17 g with the range from 0.00 g to 34.20 g (n = 732). The origin of the deer had an influence on AME and MER production, with male wild-captured (WC) individuals recording higher values (AME, 8.760.27 g, n = 272; MER, 93.75%, n = 272) than those of captive breeding (CB) males (AME: 7.390.22 g, n = 460; MER: 88.26%, n = 460). The origin of an individual’s parents, however, did not influence AME and MER. Age also influenced musk production with the MER of 1.5-year-old males being 87.5% with an average musk production of 8.270.47 g (n = 96). The peak period for musk production was from 1.5 to 8.5 years of age. The results of our study demonstrate musk deer farming could work as an effective measure to protect musk deer and provide sustainable musk resources, however, the musk production including MER and AME could be improved through optimizing the managing and breeding system in endangered musk deer farming.
Keywords: Alpine Musk Deer (Moschus sifanicus); Captive Breeding; Musk Production; Average Musk Extraction; Musk Extraction Ratio; Sustainable Musk Supply
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