An elusive species of fanged deer that has not been spotted in the last 66 years, was recently seen in northeastern Afghanistan. There is no mistaking this unique Afghan deer with distinct fangs protruding out of its mouth. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) confirmed that the deer with vampire-like fangs has been observed roaming the wildlife of Afghanistan.
Its real name is the ‘Kashmir Musk Deer’ and it is among seven of the same type of deer that roams Asia. The last spotting of such a specimen was back in 1948. The fanged deer was driven to the brink of extinction because of its scent gland (a major ingredient in Chinese traditional medicine).
The Kashmir Musk Deer also suffered due to loss of natural habitat. It was listed as a threatened species on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Through several studies, scientists urged specialists to conserve this species. One example would be a study published by the Journal Oryx which advocates the necessity of conservation efforts to ensure the animal’s survival in Afghanistan.
This magnificent, little known species, is considered a national treasure together with the snow leopard (a more popular species). They represent the country’s national heritage. Scientists hope that the situation in Afghanistan will stabilize. This will make it easier for the WCS and local affiliates to evaluate conservation requirements and future solutions.
Until now, the team has spotted the Kashmir Musk Deer on five occasions – 3 sightings of a solitary male, a lone female and a female with a juvenile. They also reported that it was extremely difficult to capture images of the animals, because they were observed in densely wooded areas or on outcrops of rocks. They are also very small animals (an adult weighs roughly the weight of a cocker spaniel).
The team concluded that the deer look unlike any other species, mostly because they do not have antlers. They have a pair of fangs that protrude from the mouth, making them look like vampires. These fangs are used by males during the mating season (only the males have fangs).