Wildlife & Biodiversity

Global Eco Watch: Major ecological happenings of the week (November 4 – 12)

Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of global ecology

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 12 November 2019
Photo: YouTube

'Extinct' ungulate found in south Vietnam

The silver-backed chevrotain has been photographed in the forests of south Vietnam thirty years after the last confirmed sighting of the species, a media report has said.

The silver-backed chevrotain, despite being called the mouse deer, is neither a rodent no a cervid. It is in fact the world’s smallest ungulate or hoofed animal. The size of a rabbit, its head is russet in colour while the back is covered in grey hair, giving it its name.

A group of scientists led by Vietnamese biologist An Nguyen set up camera traps in a lowland forest in south Vietnam. They succeeded in capturing photos of the animals. However, the exact number of individuals captured in the photos is not known.

The details of the project were published on November 11 in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The species was thought to be extinct mainly as a result of wire snares set by poachers. With its rediscovery, conservationists hope steps will be taken to conserve it.

191 butterfly species recorded in Wayanad survey

A total of 191 out of 227 species found in the Wayanad wildlife Sanctuary have been recorded in a survey conducted by the Kerala forest department, according to a media report.

Six species were sighted for the first time, including three very rare ones. These three include Catochrysops panormus, Ypthima Asterope and Horaga viola.

As many as 70 butterfly enthusiasts took part in the survey, for which the sanctuary was divided into 18 different sections.

Oxford scientists create fake rhino horn to flood the market and reduce demand

A group of scientists at the United Kingdom’s Oxford University have developed a fake rhino horn made by gluing horsehair together, with which they intend to flood the international market and reduce demand for genuine rhino horn, a media report said.

The rhinoceros gets its name from the Greek words ‘rhinos’ (nose) and ‘keros’ (hair) for the structure that grows on its nose made from keratin, the same material with which human hair and nails are formed. The rhino horn is supposed to have medicinal properties in traditional Chinese medicine and is thought to cure a range of ailments.

Because of the demand for rhino horn in traditional Chinese medicine, rhino populations have been decimated across Asia and Africa. While the trade in rhino horn has been banned since 1977, various countries determine their own laws that allow or prohibit its sale domestically.

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