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Vampire Deer Sighted in Afghanistan

Vampire Deer Sighted in Afghanistan

A recent Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) study has confirmed that the Kashmir musk deer, a fanged critter, has been sighted. The last vampire-deer sighting was 60 years ago in the sloping hills of northeast Afghanistan. The Kashmir musk deer is on the endangered species list, due to poaching and habitat loss. The deer's scent glands are highly coveted by poachers for sale on the black market, garnering up to $45,000/kilo.

Only male Kashmir musk deer have fangs, which they use during the rut to fight other males. According to WCS, the deteriorating security conditions in Nuristan, where the deer were found, made it impossible for NGOs to stay in the area after 2010. The WCS is in contact with locals who are trained and will continue ecosystem research and conservation of the species when the situation improves.

Photo courtesy of Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

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