“Extinct” Animal Rediscovered

Bill Carr, Reporter

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A small deer-like creature has recently been spotted in a forest in Vietnam. This animal has not been seen since 1990, in the same country. Due to the lack of sightings, conservationists believed that the species was extinct. Fortunately for them, a photo of the animal was captured not too long ago.

This creature is known as the silver-backed chevrotain. It is about the size of a rabbit, and lives in forest areas of Asia. The last sighting was 25 years ago, when a team of Vietnamese researchers were given a dead chevrotain from a hunter.

“For so long, this species has seemingly only existed as part of our imagination” said An Nguyen, conservationist of Global Wildlife Conservation, on washingtonpost.com. “Discovering that it is, indeed out there, is the first step in ensuring we don’t lose it again,” he added.

Scientists spoke with residents of the coastal city of Nha Trang. They say that they’d seen the gray chevrotain, which is more common that the silver-backed chevrotain. “To the scientific world this was a lost species, but local people had known about it,” said Andrew Tilker, an Asian species officer at GWC, on cnn.com. 

According to the residents, the chevrotain population is declining due to hunting. Poaching threatens much of Vietnamese wildlife. This led to the species being placed on the list of “25 most wanted” lost species.

The scientists set up camera traps within the area. They managed to capture 275 pictures of the silver-backed chevrotain over the course of 5 months. “The rediscovery of the silver-backed chevrotain provides big hope for the conservation of biodiversity, especially threatened species, in Vietnam,” said the head of the Southern Institute of Ecology’s Department of Zoology, Hoang Minh Duc, on nationalgeographic.com. 

More camera traps have been set up in hopes of finding a way to protect these animals. This rediscovery will make the world more aware of the existence of this chevrotain. Hopefully we will be seeing a lot more of these forgotten creatures.