Friday, 29 April 2011

Extinct Thai deer might have survived in haunted Laos jungle

Photo:West Berlin Zoo, Lothar Schlawe (1911)
The Schomburgk's deer may once have occurred as far north as Yunnan (China) and Laos, but is known with certainty only from central Thailand in swampy plains, especially the Chao Phya River Valley.
It's antlers also used for medical purposes made nice trophies for hunters, until the animal finally became extinct.
The last known specimen, an adult male, was kept as a pet at a temple in the Samut Sakhon province of Thailand. A drunk local killed this male in 1938 (Huffman, 2004). No confirmed reports of this species have since been heard and it is formally declared extinct since 1996.
During a visit to a Chinese medicine shop in a relativley remote area of Laos in February 1991, Laurent Chazée, an agronomist with the United Nations, saw a pair of antlers for sale. Not recognising the species, he photographed the antlers. The shop owner told Chazée the antlers came from a nearby district and that the animal had been killed in 1990. Later Chazée identified the antlers as coming from a Schomburgk's deer.
Local people consider the site to have strong animal spirits and hunting is prohibited there. This may explain why the Schomburgk's deer possibly survived in that area. (Schoering, 1995), (MacPhee & Flemming, 1999). Further research is needed.
For more on this topic see: the exctinction website, Schomburk's deer, List of mammals of Thailand, Animals and plants unique to Thailand


  1. Why was the Laos jungle haunted? :p

  2. I have no sources of the exact location, but people are very supersticous about going to special places let alone killing the animals there, since they believe it might effect their lives. The Laos jungle which covers 80% of the country is one of the last hideouts for rare species in S-E Asia.
    See also:



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