An animal that looks like a deer and is the size of a rabbit was photographed in Southern Vietnam for the first time in thirty years, confirming its existence and delighting conservationists. "Discovering that it is, indeed, still out there, is the first step in ensuring we don't lose it again, and we're moving quickly now to figure out how best to protect it".
"This could possibly depict the very last populace or one of a handful of populations, in which case we want to take motion instantly to place conservation measures in put to make certain its survival". Later, they set up another 29 cameras in the same area, recording 1,881 photos of the chevrotain over five months. There are 10 known species of chevrotain in the world, the majority of which are from Asia.
First described in 1910 by scientists, the chevrotains are the world's smallest hoofed mammals (ungulates), walking on the tips of their hooves. Only one other record of the species has been verified: a hunter-killed chevrotain obtained during a Vietnamese-Russian expedition in 1990.
The team first set up three camera traps in early 2018, with all cameras managing to capture images of the animal.
Details of the rediscovery were published Monday in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Scientists know nearly nothing about the species' general ecology or conservation status, making it one of the highest mammal conservation priorities in the Greater Annamites, one of GWC's focal wildlands.
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After a number of interviews with local villagers and government forest rangers who reported seeing a gray chevrotain-distinguishing the silver-backed chevrotain from the more common lesser chevrotain-the field team set three camera traps for five months in an area of southern Vietnam where locals indicated they may have seen the animal. It was only by utilizing the local ecological knowledge that we were successful.
According to Andrew Tilker, Asian Species Officer at the GWC, the biggest challenge in trying to rediscover the species was deciding where to start the search. "That can be replicated for other species in other parts of the world", he said. Despite being called a mouse deer, the chevrotain is neither a rodent or a deer.
"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".
"The Silver-backed Chevrotain went from being lost for at least 30 years, to found really within a matter of months".
The study's results have implications for other species that are shed to science, Tilker claimed.
Because the animals live in the Greater Annamites, a region spanning Vietnam and Laos that's known both for its high concentration of endemic mammal species and for its intensive hunting, the scientists who tracked down the silver-backed chevrotain said they won't be sharing the exact location of their discovery, from the name of the forest to the Global Positioning System coordinates for their camera traps.