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‘Vampire deer’ deer pops up in Afghanistan, 60 years after its last appearance

The musk deer seen in Afghanistan probably looks a lot like this one.

The musk deer seen in Afghanistan probably looks a lot like this one.

It’s aliiiiiiiiiive!

Although the last reported sighting of the Kashmir musk deer was around 60 years ago, a Wildlife Conservation Society study confirms that these fanged beasts are still alive and kicking.

Musk deer like the Kashmir (there are seven similar species that live around Asia, like the Siberian one shown above) use their fangs during mating season to fight other males and impress females — not to suck blood.

But unfortunately, musk deer are prized by poachers for their scent glands, which are worth over $20,000 a pound on the black market. The musk has been used in traditional medicines and perfumes for centuries. This particular species is now endangered as a result of intense poaching and habitat loss, and the last time a scientific team spotted one was back in 1948.

In an Oct. 22 edition of the journal Oryx, Wildlife Conservation Society researchers reported five sightings. They saw one lone male in the same area three times, one female with a child, and one solitary female — which may have been the same deer without her young. The researchers report that the deer were difficult to spot, and couldn’t be photographed.


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