Dear Deer: Exploring Daqiu Island, a No Man's Land


On the last weekend of March, I went with some friends to the distant and special islands of Matsu, a small grouping of islands that belong to Taiwan off the coast of China. We took a 12-hour boat ride, leaving Friday night from Keelung Port in New Taipei City and arriving Saturday morning on the largest island, Nangan. While in the Matsu Islands, we went to the township of Beigan Island to rent a small boat to take us to Daqiu Island. Daqiu Island is a famous eco-tourist location due to the Formosan Sika Deer. In this article, I will share my close encounter with these Taiwanese deer.

What does this creature or plant look like?:

The Formosan Sika Deer is a native Taiwanese species. Their fur ranges from tan to darker brown, depending on the season. The Sika often stands 90-120 cm (three to four feet wide) at the shoulder, weighs around 43-68 kg (94 lbs to 149 lbs), and measures 155 cm (around five feet tall) in length. The males are often more noticeable due to their larger size and long sharp antlers.

How did I feel when I saw it?:

At first, I was super excited to see these wild deer; however, once I was in such close proximity, I became quite nervous. These are wild deer that are not necessarily used to human interaction, except for tourists walking around the island.