Mouse deer FOUND: What is a mouse deer? Species discovery after 30 years thought extinct

Silver-backed chevrotains, also known as mouse-deer, were thought to be an extinct species. But scientists have found evidence the animals are still alive, after images of the animal were caught on camera in Vietnam. The last validated sighting of a mouse deer was in 1990, and since then scientists had wondered if the species even existed anymore.

But in a huge breakthrough for the species, Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) captured images of the animal in the wild, with details published in the Nature Ecology & Evolution journal on Monday.

An Nguyen, associate conservation scientist with GWC, said: “For those of us living in Vietnam and working in wildlife conservation, the question of whether the chevrotain was still out there and if so, where, has been nagging us for years.

“There was very little information available to point us in the right direction and we didn’t know what to expect.

“That we were able to find it with so few leads and in a relatively short period of time shows how a little bit of effort and willpower can go a long way in finding some of these special species lost to science.”

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After pinpointing the area a mouse deer was most likely to be spotted, the scientists were able to track the animal down in the wild.

The team first set up three camera traps in early 2018, with all cameras managing to capture images of the animal.

The number of camera traps was then increased over a period of a few months.

Mr Nyugen added: “The results were amazing. I was overjoyed when we checked the camera traps and saw photographs of a chevrotain with silver flanks.

What is a mouse deer?

Silver-backed chevrotains are also known as mouse-deer, and they are small animals which slightly resemble deer.

There are several species of chevrotain, which in French means ‘little goat’.

The silver-backed chevrotain, scientifically known as a Tragulus versicolor, has a notable silver sheen.

There are 10 known species of chevrotain in the world, and chevrotain tend to dwell in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia.

Unlike their name would suggest, chevrotain are not species of deer or mice.

In fact, the animals are the world’s smallest ungulates, or hoofed mammals.

The silver-backed species are thought to weigh less than 10 pounds, and have two tiny fangs.

They also walk distinctly on the tips of their hooves.

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