Camera trap surveys in Virachey National Park in northeast Cambodia have recorded the country’s first sightings of a critically endangered deer, the large-antlered muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis). The species, also known as the giant muntjac, was first described in Laos nearly three decades ago, and up until now had only been otherwise recorded in Vietnam. The surveys also recorded a suite of other increasingly rare species, highlighting the importance of the national park, which experts say is in need of additional protection to safeguard its unique and diverse wildlife. Virachey National Park is located in the Annamite mountain range, which weave a chain of precipitous peaks and forested valleys along the border between Laos and Vietnam, terminating at the south in a flourish of high ground that sweeps into northeast Cambodia. The national park was established in 1993 and spans more than 3,300 square kilometers (1,270 square miles) of this remote and rugged terrain, locally named “the dragon’s tail.” The Annamite mountains are a global biodiversity hotspot: over the last three decades, scientists have identified many unique species, including the Annamite striped rabbit (Nesolagus timminsi), the saola ox (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) and the large-antlered muntjac, that occur nowhere else on the planet. Recent camera trap surveys in Phong Dien Nature Reserve, Vietnam, roughly 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Virachey, also recorded a host of rare and threatened species, including as-yet-unidentified muntjac deer, underscoring the importance of the high-elevation Annamite forests as important refuges for rare and common species alike. The survey…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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