A rare and endangered species of deer spotted for the first time in Cambodia

According to local authorities, the discovery of this giant muntjac deer is good news that proves that the preservation of natural resources in the country is effective.

Hope is reborn for endangered wildlife. A giant muntjac deer, a rare species in danger of extinction, has been spotted in Cambodia for the first time, a sign that the country’s efforts to preserve wildlife are paying off, local authorities said on June 25, 2021.

The animal was photographed in April by an automatic camera hidden in Virachey National Park, in the northeastern province of Ratanakiri, Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told AFP.

A discovery thanks to automatic cameras

But the discovery was only made recently when Cambodian authorities recovered the camera and screened months of images of the forest, known to harbor illegal timber trafficking. “It is the most exciting news for Cambodia and for the whole world that such a rare and seriously endangered species has been discovered in Cambodia,” he said. “This is a positive result for the government’s efforts to protect natural resources.”

The species was first discovered in the nearby forests of Vietnam and Laos in 1994. Muntiacus vuquangensis, its scientific name, is on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered.

Illegal logging remains a major environmental risk in Cambodia, where vast areas of forest have been threatened since the end of the civil war in 1998. Virachey National Park suffered from rampant deforestation in the early 2000s, but its situation has improved. “The park has become a safe haven for wildlife,” Pheaktra said.

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