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Under a biodiversity monitoring and assessment activity supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), scientists and conservationists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and WWF-Vietnam captured photographs of one of the rarest and most threatened mammal species of Southeast Asia, the large-antlered muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis), in Quang Nam province, central Vietnam. Prior to this milestone, this species had only been camera trapped in three protected areas in all of Vietnam since the year 2000. The new records from Quang Nam—which include photographs of both a male and a female—provide new hope for the continued survival of a species that is on the brink of extinction.
"It is amazing news," said Phan Tuan, Director of the Forest Protection Department of Quang Nam in Vietnam "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."
Muntjac - Scientists - Annamites - Mountain - Range
The large-antlered muntjac was discovered by scientists in 1994 and is found only in the Annamites mountain range bordering Vietnam and Lao People's Democratic Republic. Illegal hunting, mainly accomplished by the setting of wire snares, has decimated the species across its range. Snaring pressure is apparently high in the forests of central Vietnam. From 2011 to 2017, for example, government rangers and WWF Forest Guards removed more than a hundred thousand wire snares from the Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam Saola Nature Reserves. In 2016, in response to the snare-driven decline of the species the status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species of the large-antlered muntjac was changed from Endangered to Critically Endangered.
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