CHANGSHA, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Twenty-one Pere David's deer were rescued in central China's Hunan Province after their habitat around Dongting Lake was flooded in June, local authorities said Friday.
Continuous rainstorms have hit Hunan in the flood season, leaving most of the deer's habitat in the city of Yuanjiang flooded by swollen Dongting Lake.
The Local forestry department has received frequent reports of deer trapped or injured.
Zheng Huaiyun, director of a local forestry station, said two of the 21 deer they rescued suffered foot injuries. The deer are being treated in captivity and will be released in the wild after recovering.
The forestry department in Yuanjiang has set up a temporary rescue station for the deer, and will invest 400,000 yuan (59,000 U.S. dollars) to expand the area of the station.
Pere David's deer are named after a Basque missionary to China who introduced them to Europe in the late 19th century.
The species were extinct in China by 1900 due to natural disasters and hunting. In 1985, 22 of the deer were brought to China from what was then the world's only herd, in Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom.
China is now home to over 5,000 Pere David's deer, accounting for 80 percent of the world's total. Hunan's Dongting Lake area has China's largest population of free-roaming Pere David's deer.