News | Environment
12 Dec 2019 3:11
NZCity News
NZCity CalculatorReturn to NZCity

  • Start Page
  • Personalise
  • Days of Xmas
  • Sport
  • Weather
  • Finance
  • Shopping
  • Jobs
  • Horoscopes
  • Lotto Results
  • Photo Gallery
  • Site Gallery
  • TVNow
  • Dating
  • SearchNZ
  • NZSearch
  • RugbyLeague
  • Make Home
  • About NZCity
  • Contact NZCity
  • Your Privacy
  • Advertising
  • Login
  • Join for Free

  •   Home > News > Environment

    Silver-backed chevrotain, or mouse-deer, thought extinct, caught on camera in Vietnam

    A tiny species of ungulate that resembles a miniature deer has been caught on camera for the first time, more than 30 years after the last dead specimen was recorded.

    With so many stories of animals going extinct these days it's rare to get some good news.

    But researchers working in lowland forest near Nha Trang in south-east Vietnam have captured the first-ever photos of a silver-backed chevrotain or "mouse-deer", which conservationists feared was extinct.

    The small deer-like species of ungulate was last seen in the early 1990s, and was feared to have been wiped out by extensive land clearing and poaching across its known habitat, researchers wrote in a paper published in Nature Ecology & Evolution today.

    While its small and fragmented population means the animal is still highly vulnerable to extinction, it's a "heartwarming" find according to James Watson, director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the University of Queensland.

    "[The silver-backed chevrotain] was mythical. People talked for years about whether it existed or not," said Professor Watson, who wasn't involved in the study.

    "This shows there are still things hanging on and they're not found in these really large protected areas, they're found in these small patches of habitat."

    Prior to these images, the animal was only known from a handful of dead specimens and local reports.

    The tiny silver-backed chevrotain, which superficially resembles a small deer, gets its name from the grey and white flecked fur on the back half of its body.

    Because it is so rare, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists its conservation status as "data deficient".

    Conservationists burning out from seeing loss every day

    The research team suspected the animal may still occur in the forests near Nha Trang, after interviewing locals in the region who reported seeing chevrotains with grey backs.

    So they set up camera traps — cameras triggered by movement — at three sites in early 2018.

    When they retrieved their cameras in April of that year, all three contained images of the animals.

    They then increased the number of camera traps to 29, and recorded animals on 15 of 29 cameras between April and July.

    Their findings suggest that, at least within this small region, the species may be locally abundant.

    However, they stress the need for more research to investigate whether there are other populations across Vietnam.

    "We also recommend assessing the major threats in areas in which the species has been confirmed, as a first step in developing mitigation strategies with local stakeholders," they wrote.

    Good news stories like this one are really important for conservationists, who are burning out on the seemingly relentless decline of the natural world, according to Professor Watson.

    "Unfortunately the news is so often bad because the state of the planet is terrible," said Professor Watson, who is also the director of science and research at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

    "Most conservationists I think are manically depressed. I really do, because we see loss every day.

    "So anything that makes you go, 'wow, that's unexpected but lovely', it warms the heart."

    He thinks that the ecology of the silver-backed chevrotain means that it has a good chance of recovery, if the key threats are removed.

    "They're rapid breeders, so the good news is that if you can get habitat loss and hunting under control, it's got a good chance at bouncing back."

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

     Other Environment News
     11 Dec: Emergency operations are standing down on the West Coast after flooding and slips since the weekend
     10 Dec: Flood-affected homeowners are being urged to contact EQC
     09 Dec: Workers are out at the most sodden areas of the South Island, trying to get communication lines back up and running
     09 Dec: Big concerns from Westland's mayor as his region is hammered... yet again
     08 Dec: MetService has issued severe thunderstorm warnings for parts of New Zealand
     08 Dec: Parts of the South Island telecommunications network are still down following severe weather
     08 Dec: Meet Mark, the 3-tonne inflatable whale teaching people how to help with mass strandings in Tasmania
     Top Stories

    New All Blacks head coach Ian Foster is adamant the next two years won't be a continuation of the Steve Hansen era More...

    No signs demand for rentals will cool anytime soon More...

     Today's News

    Police Minister Stuart Nash has tonight outlined his expectations to police about how they are to communicate 21:57

    Beyonce’s miscarriages taught her to “mother herself” before having children 21:40

    Law and Order:
    Police want to hear from anyone who saw a naked man on Ocean Beach, south of Hastings, in the Hawke's Bay, yesterday 21:17

    Khloe Kardashian says leftover food from her family’s lavish parties often goes to “a food bank or church” 21:10

    Beyoncé finds it "stressful" balancing work and home life 20:40

    Taylor Swift is approaching her thirties with a healthier outlook 20:10

    Bougainville votes overwhelmingly for independence from Papua New Guinea in landmark referendum 19:57

    Dave Bautista is to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame 19:40

    New Zealand White Island volcano rescue pilot says bodies could be recovered in 90 minutes 19:17

    Members of the New World Order (nWo) are to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame 19:10

     News Search

    Power Search

    © 2019 New Zealand City Ltd