Home / World / Silver-backed Chevrotain, with prisoners and hoofs, photographed in the wild for the first time: NPR

Silver-backed Chevrotain, with prisoners and hoofs, photographed in the wild for the first time: NPR



Nearly 30 years after the last documented observation, a silver-backed chevrotain was discovered by a camera set up in the forest of southern Vietnam.

Southern Institute of Ecology / Global Wildlife Conservation / Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research / NCNP


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Southern Institute of Ecology / Global Wildlife Conservation / Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research / NCNP

Nearly 30 years after the last documented observation, a silver-backed chevrotain was discovered by a camera set up in the forest of southern Vietnam.

Southern Institute of Ecology / Global Wildlife Conservation / Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research / NCNP

The silver-backed chevrotain – a mysterious animal that is on a rabbit but looks like a silver-colored deer – has been photographed in nature for the first time. The Chevrotain is the world's smallest clawed mammal, or ungulate.

Scientists say they have rediscovered a type of chevrotain that had been "lost to science" for nearly 30 years.

"They are shy and lonely, seem to walk on the tips of their hooves and have two small teeth," says the Global Wildlife Conservation, which helped back up the project that recently tracked the elusive animals in southern Vietnam.

Researchers made the new sight after receiving tips from locals who reported seeing a gray chevrotain in the forest – meaning they had probably seen a silver-backed chevrotain ( Tragulus versicolor ) rather than the more common the minor chevrotain ( Tragulus kanchil ).

In late 2017, researchers set up camera traps near the forest floor and left them for five months in hopes of catching evidence of the two-toned animal, sometimes called the Vietnamese deer animal. The cameras were set up less than a foot off the ground to ensure they could capture a good image of the diminutive animal.

"We had no idea what to expect, so I was surprised and overjoyed when we checked the camera traps and saw photographs of a chevrotain with silver flanks," said Expedition Team Leader An Nguyen, a conservation scientist for the Global Wildlife Conservation who is also a field coordinator. with the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin.

"As long as this species has apparently only existed as part of our imagination," Nguyen said in a news release on the research, published on Monday in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

All three cameras in the first study provided images of silver-backed chevrotain – an encouraging sign that led to a second round of camera traps. In the more intense phase, 15 of 29 camera stations recorded photos of the creatures. A 30th camera is being stowed during research.

Formerly believed to be "lost to science", two newborn chevrotains were recently photographed in Vietnam's forests for a study published on Monday in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution .

Southern Institute of Ecology / Global Wildlife Conservation / Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research / NCNP


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Southern Institute of Ecology / Global Wildlife Conservation / Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research / NCNP

Formerly believed to be "lost to science," two recently silver-colored chevrotains were photographed in Vietnam's forests for a study published on Monday in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution .

Southern Institute of Ecology / Global Wildlife Conservation / Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research / NCNP

When announcing their findings, the researchers also urged the government and conservation groups to study the newly registered population so that the chevrotain's habitat can be preserved and potential threats to its survival identified.

"Discovering that it's really still out is the first step to making sure we don't lose it again," Nguyen said, "and we're moving quickly now to find out how to best protect it."

Because the animals live in the Greater Annamites, a region that extends across Vietnam and Laos, which is known both for its high concentration of endemic mammal species and for its intense hunting, the researchers who tracked the silver-backed chevrotains said they will not share the exact location of The discovery, from the name of the forest to the GPS coordinates of their camera traps.

Prior to the latest discovery, a total of five silver-backed chevrotains had been seen in only two confirmed cases: 1910, when scientists acquired four specimens, and 1990, when a joint Vietnamese-Russian expedition received a silver-backed chevrotain that had been killed by a hunter.


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