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E: Environment, Enrichment,
Education, & Endangered Species

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Truong Son muntjac (Muntiacus truongsonensis) is the recently discovered muntjac and our animal of the month. This animal was confirmed as a new species in 1997. New mammal discoveries are considered rare. The scientific name selected for the Truong Son muntjac, Muntiacus truongsonensis, comes from the range of mountains where it was found.

Animal of the Month
Truong Son Muntjac
(Muntiacus truongsonensis)

The Truong Son muntjac was first discovered by scientists from World Wildlife Fund, Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Da Nang University during a survey of forests of the northern Truong Son range (near West Quang Nam Province) in central Vietnam. . Although it was suspected to be a new species, it was only confirmed to be a new species in 1997 after a genetic analysis by the University of Copenhagen.

In the native tongue this animal is called "sam soi cacoong," which translates as, "the deer that lives in the deep, thick forest." The Truong Son muntjac is found in secondary wet evergreen forest. Weighing only 33 pounds (15 kg) its small size allows it mobility through the dense forest vegetation where ferns and leaves litter the floor. This new species lives at altitudes ranging from 1300 - 3300 feet (400-1000 metres).

Muntjacs are a small flighty species and are known as "barking deer" because of the deep, barklike warnings they make when a predator is nearby. In addition, the muntjac's antlers are very short and lack the second spike or brow tine common in other muntjac species. Both males and females are noted to have similar sized long canine teeth.

Young muntjacs are generally born in dense jungle growth, where they remain hidden until they can move around with their mother. The diet of muntjac species includes grasses, low-growing leaves, and tender shoots. Both diurnal and nocturnal activity have been reported for muntjac species in general but specifics for this species remain vague. Longevity and other details were not found.

About the columnist: Since 1978 Diana L. Guerrero has worked professionally with both wild and domestic animals. Guerrero has been affiliated with, and certified by, a variety of animal programs in the USA and Europe. Based in California, she writes, consults, and speaks. Information on her animal career programs, training courses, and her books {What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality (SkyLight Paths, 2003), Blessing of the Animals (Sterling, 2007), Help! My Pet is Driving Me Crazy (Guerrero Ink, 2007), Animal Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners & Pet Professionals (Guerrero Ink, 2007)} can be found in this web site and in the shop. Questions for Guerrero should be submitted via the blog comments or membership forum.


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