News | Environment
6 Dec 2019 21:21
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
  • Crime.co.nz
  • 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
     06 Dec: West Coast Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and Westland District Council are closely monitoringtroads and rivers with heavy rain continuing to batter the region
     06 Dec: Polar bears move into Russian village in their dozens, forcing town into lockdown
     06 Dec: Heavy rains are moving up the country from the deep South
     06 Dec: The West Coast is bracing for more flooding and slips
     05 Dec: As rain keeps falling in central Otago - sandbags are being given out as a precaution
     05 Dec: Invasive fungus myrtle rust is pushing Australia's native trees toward extinction
     04 Dec: Precautionary flood measures have been extended to Queenstown CBD, Glenorchy and Kingston
     Top Stories

    RUGBY RUGBY
    The Black Ferns and All Blacks sevens are back in action at the Dubai World Series event when day two begins tonight More...


    BUSINESS BUSINESS
    West Coast Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and Westland District Council are closely monitoringtroads and rivers with heavy rain continuing to batter the region More...



     Today's News

    Entertainment:
    Ashley Graham has undergone a "rollercoaster of emotions" over her pregnancy figure 21:17

    Accident and Emergency:
    A 70-year-old Australian man has died after a fall on a section of the Routeburn Track today 21:17

    Entertainment:
    Lea Michele's husband gave her a "wedding survival guide" for Christmas last year 20:47

    Entertainment:
    Jason Momoa has promised to send Chris Pratt a case of his canned water after calling out the 'Jurassic World' actor for posing with a plastic bottle 20:17

    Entertainment:
    Mena Massoud hasn't had an audition since his starring role in 'Aladdin' 19:47

    Entertainment:
    Justin Hartley's estranged wife has listed their separation date as almost five months later than the actor had claimed 19:17

    Business:
    West Coast Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and Westland District Council are closely monitoringtroads and rivers with heavy rain continuing to batter the region 18:57

    Entertainment:
    Khloé Kardashian insists fans don't "know it all" about her life from her reality shows 18:47

    Rugby:
    The Black Ferns and All Blacks sevens are back in action at the Dubai World Series event when day two begins tonight 18:37

    International:
    YouTube Rewind 2019 brings back PewDiePie, addresses last year's mass dislikes 18:37


     News Search






    Power Search


    © 2019 New Zealand City Ltd