Deer departed is back again

A species of tiny deer not seen by scientists for 30 years has been found – and photographed – in Vietnam.

Writing in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers from the US, Germany, Australia, Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam report, with some joy, the reappearance of the silver-backed chevrotain (Tragulus versicolor).

The last known record was a hunter-killed specimen from 1990.

An Nguyen, from the organisation Global Wildlife Conservation, and colleagues interviewed local people in three Vietnamese provinces to identify chevrotain sightings consistent with descriptions of the silver-backed chevrotain in an effort to locate the species. 

Armed with this knowledge, they placed more than 30 motion-activated camera traps in a nearby forested habitat, and made in excess of 200 confirmed sightings.

“In an age of mass extinctions, confirming the survival of lost species provides rare second chances for biodiversity conservation,” the authors write. 

Understandably, they have called for immediate action to ensure its survival.

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