Elusive Fanged Deer Spotted For First Time In 66 Years

Elusive Fanged Deer Spotted For First Time In 66 Years

Fangs for showing up again, deer.

A species of fanged deer that hasn’t been seen in 66 years was recently spotted by scientists in northeastern Afghanistan, according to a Wildlife Conservation Society news release published Friday.

The Kashmir musk deer, which is one of seven similar species found throughout Asia, is endangered due to habitat loss and also because of poachers hunting the animal for its prized scent glands. No members of the species had been seen in Afghanistan by scientists since 1948.

Only the male musk deer have fangs, which they use during breeding season to battle for mates, according to the Washington Post. The stocky deer stand at about 2 feet tall, according to Discovery.

The WCS survey team said they experienced five distinct sightings of the deer. The same solitary male was seen three different times, and an adult female was seen with a young deer. On a fifth occasion, researchers spotted a solitary female, though they were unable to tell if it was the same one as before.

They noted that the deer were “difficult to spot,” and they were unable to get them on camera.

Peter Zahler, WCS Deputy Director of Asia Programs, called musk deer “one of Afghanistan's living treasures,” and said in the release that his organization hopes “that conditions will stabilize soon to allow WCS and local partners to better evaluate conservation needs of this species."

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