Painting: "The Last Huemul" by Patricia Dominguez, Chilean artist.
The International Deer Biology Congress (IDBC) aims at uniting professionals interested in wild deer biology, management and farmed deer production, to provide a forum to discuss common problems, and share knowledge and experiences. Some of the major topics covered include general deer biology and ecology, evolution, genetics, management, in-situ and ex-situ conservation, veterinary aspects, antler biology, and antler and venison production. The conservation biology of cervids will derive important benefits from activities related to deer production. The IDBC allows new relationships to be formed and hopefully spark new endeavors in cervid research, conservation, management and production.
The importance of the IDBC from a global perspective
Ruminants have been very important mammals for ecosystems and the development of human societies. As cervids are the other principal group among ruminant mammals, besides the bovids, the IDBC is of mayor relevance. The northern hemisphere is the principal region for the cervid radiation, whereas Africa is the center of bovids. South America did not have any bovids, but instead the only radiation of cervids in the southern hemisphere. In modern times though, several cervid species were introduced to Australia and New Zealand which substantially increased the presence of cervids in the southern hemisphere. The practically global distribution of cervids has thus resulted in globally broad research and management programs.
Deer were a mayor component in many ecosystems resulting in strong interactions with the flora and fauna. For most species, the landscape became dominated by the human enterprise, and in many case it has resulted in a retraction of numbers and geographical range, bringing several species to the brink of extinction. A few species, or regional populations, were able to be recovered substantially and they again constitute an important component of those ecosystems. These successes give hope that the same can be achieved for deer species still endangered. Other species have benefitted from modified landscapes and at times have reached overabundance more recently causing a variety of problems.
The annual regrowth of antlers among cervids is the only such example for a anatomically complete and complex mammalian appendage. Consequently, antler biology is of much interest in the study of regeneration and cancer in mammals, and in pharmacology.
Trajectory of the IDBC
An initial conference on "Antler Development in Cervidae", organized in 1982 in Kingsville (Texas) by Robert Brown, started the tradition of the subsequent International Deer Biology Congress series.
The First International Deer Biology Congress was held in Dunedin (New Zealand) in 1983, organized by Peter Fennessy and Ken Drew and resulted in the publication "Biology of Deer Production", Bulletin 22. Roy Soc NZ, 481 pp (1985).
The Second International Deer Biology Congress was held in Mississippi State (USA) in 1990, organized by Robert Brown, and resulted in the publication "The Biology of Deer", Springer Verlag, 596 pp (1992).
The Third International Deer Biology Congress was held in Edinburgh (UK) in 1994, organized by John Milne, and resulted in the publication "Recent Developments in Biology of Deer, Proceedings", Macaulay Land Use and Moredun Research Institutes, 432 pp (1998).
The Fourth International Deer Biology Congress was held in Kaposvar (Hungary) in 1998, organized by Lazlo Sugar and Zoltan Zomborsky, and resulted in the publication "Advances in Biology Deer, Proceedings", Pannon University of Agricutlture, 410 pp (1999).
The Fifth International Deer Biology Congress was held in Quebec City (Canada) in 2002, organized by Michele Crete, and resulted in "Conference Proceedings of the Fifth International Deer Biology Congress", Ecoscience, (2003).
The Sixth International Deer Biology Congress was held in Prague (Czech Republic) in 2006, organized by Ludek Bartos, and resulted in "Advances in Deer Biology: Deer in a Changing World", Czech University of Agriculture, 275 pp (2006).
The Seventh International Deer Biology Congress was held in Huilo Huilo (Chile) in 2010, organized by Werner Flueck, Alexandra Petermann, and Jo Anne Smith-Flueck, with many of the presentations published in Animal Production Science, Special Issue 51(4).
The Eighth International Deer Biology Congress was held in Harbin (China) in 2014, organized by Chuanping Yang, with many of the presentations published in Animal Production Science Special Issue 56(6).
The Scientific Steering Committee has been the organization which provided the continuity of the congresses as the committee remains active between congresses.