By Tim Binnall
A curious creature that many wildlife conservationists feared had gone extinct has reportedly been rediscovered in Vietnam. Known colloquially as the Vietnamese fanged mouse-deer, the silver-backed chevrotain is a diminutive animal about the size of a rabbit that had last been seen in the country back in 1990. In the ensuing years, the dearth of documented sightings led experts to fear that the animal could have gone extinct as its habitat is a popular haunt for poachers.
However, when the group Global Wildlife Conservation began to hear rumors that the creature had recently been spotted by local villagers and forestry officials, they set out to see if they could find it. Using three camera traps placed in the area for five months, they managed to capture 275 photos of the silver-backed chevrotain, confirming that it does still exist. A subsequent five-month-long project using a staggering 29 camera traps yielded a whopping 1,881 images of the animal.
The rediscovery of the silver-backed chevrotain is being celebrated by experts as the creature is particularly elusive and, to date, only five specimens of the animal have ever been collected. According to Global Wildlife Conservation, the 'mouse-deer,' which is neither a mouse nor a deer, is so rare that "scientists know almost nothing about the species' general ecology or conservation status." The group now plans to redouble their observations of the area using additional camera traps in an attempt to figure out the size and range of the silver-backed chevrotain population in the area.