Science

First “Vampire” Musk Deer Seen in Sixty Years!

Earlier this week, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society working in Afghanistan confirmed sightings of the critically endangered Kashmir Musk Deer (Moschus cupreus) – the first positive observation in the wild since 1948!  The “Vampire” nickname refers to the fang-like tusks sported by males and used to spar with other males during mating.  Despite many animals being valued for their tusks, hunters target Kashmir Musk Deer for their distinct musk glands, a prized ingredient in cosmetics and certain traditional medications.  Their high localization to certain forests adds to their elusiveness.

The musk deer Moschus moschiferus, captive male. Image credit: Nikolay Usik / CC BY-SA 3.0.

( A Male Kashmir Musk Deer displaying tusks. Image Credit: Nikolay Usik / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Scientist believe they viewed three distinct individuals including a grown female with a juvenile deer, and solitary male deer who was seen on three different occasions.

Read more about the “Vampire” Musk Deer and conservation efforts at Sci-News.

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