Rare Deer-Like Animal Rediscovered In Vietnam After 30 Years

Fanged miniature 'mouse-deer' rediscovered by scientists in Vietnam

Details of the rediscovery have been published in the Nature Ecology & Evolution journal.

"The rediscovery of the silver-backed chevrotain provides big hope for the conservation of biodiversity, especially threatened species, in Vietnam", said Hoang Minh Duc, head of the Southern Institute of Ecology's Department of Zoology. Chevrotains typically weigh less than 10 pounds.

In the following five months, they set up another 29 cameras and captured 1881 photos of the animal.

Mr Nguyen's team interviewed local hunters in three Vietnamese provinces to identify possible chevrotain sightings before setting up three camera traps for five months, resulting in 275 photos of the species.

"We had no idea what to expect, so I was surprised and overjoyed when we checked the camera traps and saw photographs of a chevrotain with silver flanks", said expedition team leader An Nguyen, a conservation scientist for Global Wildlife Conservation who is also field coordinator with the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin.

The animal was first described in 1910 when four individuals were found near Nha Trang.

"Then very little. So small recognised about it that the species was just one large query mark", said Andrew Tilker, Asian species officer at the GWC.

MOUSE DEER were thought to be extinct, but have been recently rediscovered in Vietnam.

A lost species known as the "mouse deer'" has been spotted for the first time since 1990.

"We experienced these two historical localities separated by rather some distance-one in the southern portion of Vietnam and the other significantly further north", said Tilker.

Also called the Vietnamese mouse-deer, the animal was last recorded in 1990.

Despite its deceiving nickname, chevrotains are the planet's smallest hoofed mammals - not mice or deer, according to a Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) press release. It was only by utilizing the local ecological knowledge that we were successful.

"But we knew that many men and women have camera-trapped in the wet evergreen forests and hadn't found it, so we assumed we ought to glimpse at the dry forest habitat which is genuinely distinctive and in which not a lot of men and women have appeared".

"For so long this species has seemingly only existed as part of our imagination".

With the distinctive silver line down its back that starts simply behind its shoulders, the silver-supported chevrotain (Tragulus versicolor) looks somewhat like a deer, yet it's the size of a huge house feline.

The find has sparked calls for expanded conservation efforts to protect the species, which has survived despite poaching in the region. "That can be replicated for other species in other parts of the world", CNN quoted Tilker as saying.

There are several species of chevrotain, which in French means "little goat".

"This might represent the last population or one of a handful of populations, in which case we need to take action immediately to put conservation measures in place to ensure its survival".



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