For 1000 years, Milu - an exotic species of deer - existed only in the Chinese Emperor's private park in Beijing. Milu was odd-looking, with the neck of a camel, the horns of a stag, the feet of a cow and the tail of a donkey. In second half of the 19th century, a Basque missionary, Pere David, became the first westerner ever to see Milu. Eventually, he acquired some bones and a pelt, which were shipped in a diplomatic bag to Paris. The cured remains caused excitement across Europe, as zoologists clamoured to get hold of a live specimen. Soon every major nation in Europe had a Milu or two. But the deer did not thrive, and most of them died quickly. The one exception was in Bedfordshire - Woburn, the family seat of the 11th Duke of Bedford. He was devoted to the Milu, and under his care it flourished. Meanwhile in China, during the period of the Boxer Rebellion, Milu became extinct. Today, for a price, one can shoot a Milu in wild game reserves located throughout the world - but especially in Texas. This text is Robert Twigger's attempt to tell the story.
In the process, he provides a meditation on a number of human obsessions - evolution, truth-telling, extinction, myth-making, and survival.
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