New record of giant muntjac in Vietnam raises conservation hope

By Pham Huong   May 23, 2018 | 08:25 pm PT
New record of giant muntjac in Vietnam raises conservation hope
Experts capture a female ;arge-antlered muntjac in central Vietnam. Photo by Leibniz IZW, WWF Vietnam, USAID Song Thanh Nature Reserve/via Quang Nam's Forest Management Department
Large-antlered muntjac is one of the rarest species in Southeast Asia.

Conservationists have gained new hope for conserving the large-antlered muntjac, one of the rarest and most threatened mammal species of Southeast Asia, after its members were recently spotted in central Vietnam.

Experts from the World Wide Fund for Nature and officials in Quang Nam Province said on Wednesday that photographs of two members of the animal, one male and one female, were captured in the local jungle by scientists and conservationists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and WWF-Vietnam in November 2017.

"It is amazing news," said Phan Tuan, Director of Quang Nam's Forest Management Department. "The two individuals are both mature and of reproductive age. These images prove that the species still survives in Quang Nam Province and give us hope that there might even be a breeding population," he said.

Prior to this, the species, which is known scientifically as Muntiacus vuquangensis, had only been camera trapped in three protected areas in all of Vietnam since the year 2000.

The large-antlered muntjac was discovered by scientists in 1994 and has been found only in the Annamites mountain range bordering Vietnam and Laos, where its population has been severely threatened by illegal hunting, mainly with wire snares. From 2011 to 2017, more than 100,000 wire snares were removed in Quang Nam and the neighboring Thua Thien-Hue. In 2016, in response to the species' population decline, the International Union for Conservation of Nature changed its status from "endangered" to "critically endangered."

go to top