It is no bigger than a rabbit and weighs no more than 5 kg: a surprising silver-backed chevrotain was photographed in northwestern Vietnam. Also known as a 'mouse-deer', or scientifically as Tragulus versicolor, it bears its name well since its features resemble both those of a deer and those of a mouse.
This amazing specimen had not been seen for about 30 years, in this region nor elsewhere. These small herbivorous mammals belong to the family of ungulates, small deer that have the particularity of having two small fangs instead of canines. The last time a specimen was seen was in 1990.
Threatened by hunting
Since then, the 'mouse-deer' had therefore been considered as 'critically endangered' by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), mainly as a result of snare hunting. But, refusing to believe that it was extinct, scientists set up about thirty cameras in the Vietnamese forest to try and take it by surprise. They quickly hit the jackpot.
'The results were incredible,' enthuses biologist An Nguyen. 'We were overjoyed when we checked the photographic trap and saw these incredible photos of silver-backed chevrotains.'
However, according to the researchers, although the amusing photos which can be seen in the video above are surprising, they do not bode well for the species. 'We found this specimen relatively easily, but that does not mean that its species is not threatened,' they conclude.