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'Vampire Deer' Spotted for First Time in 60 Years in Afghanistan

Image: 'Vampire Deer' Spotted for First Time in 60 Years in Afghanistan
Male tufted deer, one of seven similar species, with tusks and a more prominent tuft of hair. (wikimedia/commons, file)

By    |   Monday, 03 Nov 2014 08:47 AM

Looking like a cross between Bambi's dad and a vampire, an Afghan fanged deer not seen in 60 years resurfaced during a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, bringing hope to those who feared it had been hunted to extinction.

"Musk deer are one of Afghanistan's living treasures," study co-author Peter Zahler, WCS Deputy Director of Asia Programs, said upon publishing his findings in the journal Oryx late last month.

"This rare species, along with better known wildlife such as snow leopards, are the natural heritage of this struggling nation. We hope that conditions will stabilize soon to allow WCS and local partners to better evaluate conservation needs of this species."

The Kashmir musk deer, which resides in the forests of Nuristan Province in northeast Afghanistan, sports vampire-like fangs. For centuries, poachers have hunted the endangered species for its scent glands, which are worth over $20,000 per pound on the black market, The Washington Post reported. The glands are used for everything from traditional medicines to perfume.

The last recorded sighting of the deer came all the way back in 1948 when a Danish survey team was traversing the region.

Since then, poaching and habitat loss have driven their numbers down to almost nothing.

In the most recent sighting, the researchers spotted one lone male, one lone female, and one female with a child.

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Looking like a cross between Bambi's dad and a vampire, an Afghan fanged deer not seen in 60 years resurfaced during a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, bringing hope to those who feared it had been hunted to extinction.
vampire, deer, spotted, afghanistan
225
2014-47-03
Monday, 03 Nov 2014 08:47 AM
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