Breeding animals within parks in the present Lithuania territory was first mentioned in source books in 1397. Heards were used for Duke's hunts, but in some specific cases (e.g. in cases of war) they were a place for holding an emergency ration of meat. Red deer were widely distributed in Lithuania until the 17th century. Unfortunately in the beginning of 18th century, red deer disappeared. However in the beginning of 20th century animals escaped from park heards, spread into the forests and gave rise to a restoration process. Fallow deer were brought to Lithuania in the 16-17th centuries. They were bred in enclosures and served as decoration for parks. Later on fallow deer disappeared. The present population was bred from fallow deer which were brought from Czechoslovakia and Soviet Union in 1976-77. Sika deer were brought to Lithuania from Russia's Far East Gorno-Altaysk region deer farm in 1954 and from Chechen-Ingushya and the Vladivostok region in 1990.

During the Soviet period enclosures were used to enrich the hunting fauna, only in the last decade enclosures oriented towards the production of venison or velvet antlers have appeared. Currently  there are 10 enclosures with a total area of 1000 hectares. Approximately 1000 animals are kept here. The market for sika deer velvet antlers is marginal; now the main income is from trophy hunting and venison production. Red deer farms are in the stage of formation. A breeding herd has been formed from indigenous individuals living in the wilderness. Fallow deer farms are oriented towards hunting.

In 1999 a group of devotees established "The Association of Deer Farmers" (Elniu Augintoju Asociacija-EAA). Its main task is to fill the information gap about intensive deer farming. The Lithuaninan EAA is an associated member of FEDFA.

A large amount of free fallow land and the benevolence of state authorities could create perfect conditions for the establishment of new deer farms. However, the critical social and economical situation in rural areas and the lack of breeding animals are the main reasons which deter this process. In spite of this, the deer farming industry in Lithuania apperars to be very promising.



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