Rare Animal Photographed for First Time in Vietnam


14 November, 2019

A wildlife conservation group said this week that it has pictures of one of the rarest animals in the world.

Global Wildlife Conservation, or GWC, said it captured the images of the small, deer-like creature in a forest in southern Vietnam.

Photo of a silver-backed chevrotain. (Southern Institute of Ecology/Global Wildlife Conservation/Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research/NCNP)
Photo of a silver-backed chevrotain. (Southern Institute of Ecology/Global Wildlife Conservation/Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research/NCNP)

The creature has a silver-colored back and is about the size of a rabbit. It is known as the silver-backed chevrotain or Vietnamese mouse deer. The wildlife group made a point of noting it is not a mouse or a deer.

The rare creatures are said to be frightened easily. They have two small fangs hanging from their mouths. They are the world's smallest hoofed animal, GWC said.

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research is a partner of GWC in the project. An Nguyen, a conservation scientist with the institute, spoke to The Associated Press about the animal.

"For so long this species has seemingly only existed as part of our imagination. Discovering that it is, indeed, still out there, is the first step in ensuring we don't lose it again, and we're moving quickly now to figure out how best to protect it," he said.

Working in Vietnam, An and his team set up camera traps after receiving reports from local villagers and forest rangers. The cameras took some 1,800 photographs of the species over a period of 5 months.

Hoang Minh Duc is the head of Vietnam's Southern Institute of Ecology's Department of Zoology.

The GWC quoted Duc as saying that "the rediscovery of the silver-backed chevrotain provides big hope for the conservation of biodiversity, especially threatened species, in Vietnam."

I'm John Russell.

The Associated Press reported this story. John Russell adapted the story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

conservation – n. the protection of animals, plants, and natural resources

fang – n. a big, sharp tooth

hoof n. the curved, hard part of the foot of some animals like a horse

speciesn. a group of living organisms who have similar physical qualities

ensure – v. to make (something) sure or safe

biodiversity – n. the different kinds of life in an environment

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