In a testament to the Earth’s ability to continually surprise us, scientists in Vietnam have successfully photographed a species not seen for nearly 30 years. That species is known as the mouse deer, a rabbit-sized animal that despite the name, is neither mouse nor deer.
Instead, its the world’s smallest ungulate, or hoofed animal. Using camera traps set up in the forest, the scientists were able to get clear pictures of a distinctly two-tone mouse deer foraging for food.
The mouse deer, which is known by scientists as a silver-black chevrotain, is a half-painted beast. Behind the russet head, neck, and front legs lies a silver-grey body and hind legs rounded off by a white, grizzled bottom.
Though probably preyed on by leopards, wild dogs, and pythons, scientists fear that snares laid by hunters have pushed the species to the brink of extinction. By successfully rediscovering the species, conservationists are now pushing to introduce swift action to protect what remains of the mouse deer population.