Biology / Ecology / Science

Oh deer

Casting about for a topic to post about this week, I ran across this article about silver-backed chevrotains. They’re a small deer-like species from Vietnam which were feared to be extinct due to their elusiveness — they hadn’t been seen by scientists for around 30 years — but when a group of scientists asked around amongst the locals, they were sure there were still chevrotains out there. So the scientists planted cameras at three spots that locals swore were good for sightings… and waited.

And here they are!

SOUTHERN INSTITUTE OF ECOLOGY, GLOBAL WILDLIFE CONSERVATION, LEIBNIZ INSTITUTE FOR ZOO AND WILDLIFE RESEARCH, NCNP

It’s hard to say how well the species are doing, though we know there are at least two living individuals. Hopefully we’ll be able to study and conserve them in more detail now it’s been proved they still exist.

The lesson, of course, is that local knowledge is really helpful, and a whole species can go under the radar for quite a long time. It doesn’t mean the species isn’t endangered, or that there are many endangered species hiding out where we aren’t thinking to look… but it’s an encouraging thought all the same.

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