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Silver-backed Chevrotain Field Notes

Surveys August  26 – 31, 2017

Map of interview surveys in Vietnam
Team members
Interviewing local people
Team

An Nguyen (IZW field coordinator, GWC associated biologist) and Dao Vo (Master student at HCMC University of Science).

Study site

The team conducted interview surveys in three districts around the Deo Ca forest block: Van Ninh district, Khanh Hoa provice; Dong Hoa district, Phu Yen province; Tay Hoa district, Phu Yen province

RESULTS

The team has interviewed 12 local people, including hunters, traders and rangers. As this is a large forest block, we spent more time interviewing more people and visiting villages in the area. Most people reported that chevrotains still occur and are being hunted. Three hunters in Dai Lanh described a chevrotain that has grey fur, and they could not identify the Lesser Deer Mouse in the field guide. A ranger in Hoa Thinh also so said there are two types of chevrotain that are different in fur color and body size. The rest of interviewees (most of them are in Van Tho) knew only one type of chevrotain, which looks like the Lesser Mouse Deer. For other mammals species, all interviewees indicated that they are aware that most large mammals were wiped out (by intensive snaring). They also pointed out that the western area (which is more remote) is still a potential place for hunting.

For the conservation in this area, there is no protected forest area and people are almost free to access the forest for illegal activities, where there is very little law enforcement).

Surveys August 19 – 25, 2017

Map of study sites in Vietnam
Dry forest in Van Ninh
Hunter's trophy in Ninh Son.
Team

An Nguyen (IZW field coordinator, GWC associated biologist), Minh Nguyen (Southern Institute of Ecology), Dao Vo (Master student at HCMC University of Science) and Phuoc Tran (Student at HCMC University of Science)

Study site

The team conducted interview surveys at three study sites: Ninh Sơn district, Ninh Thuan province; Phuoc Dinh district, Ninh Thuan province; Van Ninh district, Khanh Hoa province.

Results

The team spent four days in Ninh Son, where we interviewed six hunters and one trader. The area has very dry forest that becomes wetter as you go further west. Many of the interviewees don’t think the chevrotain is still in the forest around Ninh Son District, and only middle-age hunters reported having seen the chevrotain once or twice before. Based on their descriptions, it sounds like the animals they saw are likely the Lesser Mouse Deer. A hunter, who had gone to several forests in Ninh Thuan Province and southern provinces, realized that the chevrotain he observed in Bac Ai district (northe of Ninh Son) has distinctive fur color (grayish) , unlike chevrotain in the southern provinces. Although the presence of chevrotain is very low, this could still be a home for several mammals in urgent need of conservation, such as Banteng, Large-antlered Muntjac and Douc Langurs.

The team spent only one day in Phuoc Dinh District for the survey. The interviewees all reported that there are almost no chevrotain left in the forest. They said they had occasionally seen muntjacs, wild pigs, civets, macaques and langurs--the first three are targets of local hunters.

The team has just started the fist day of surveying in Van Ninh, Khánh Hòa. Two hunters that we interviewed noted that chevrotain were very abundant in the forest more than 10 years ago and that though they still occur now, the populations have rapidly declined because of intensive hunting. Surprisingly, they both described a chevrotain that has quite distinctive fur color compared to the Lesser Mouse Deer.

Other than this, I noted that all interviewees know that the mammal populations have been in decline and it’s becoming harder to hunt. They are also aware of law enforcement and rarely hunt langurs and bovids.