A Rare Find

A Rare Find

A Rare Find called a mouse deer because of its mouse-like looks, the diminutive animal is also known as Indian Chevrotain. The mouse deer is strictly nocturnal and a herbivore. The mouse deer is found in many parts of Southern India, and up to Palamau but for a long time, its presence in Central India was missing. This is an interesting story of rediscovery.

Mouse deer is India’s smallest ruminant with a three-chambered stomach instead of four. This is a unique characteristic of this herbivore. The appearance is an unmarked brown head, a speckled brown coat with spots and stripes at the back. Neither sex has antlers, the legs are grey-brown and the hooves are large which enables it to scurry through bushes with ease when chased by a predator. The mouse deer’s body is tapered like a mouse hence the name.

The mouse deer is found in evergreen, semi-evergreen, deciduous, tall plantations and riverine patches. It is rarely seen in the daytime. Indian Chevrotain was found in Central India, and its presence is mentioned by old hunters who boasted of a large number of this species. But that was past, and no records of mouse deer presence were noted since independence. The mouse deer was thought to be extinct in Kanha and the rest of Central India. Conservationists blame overhunting for its absence or it could be some change in habitat.

But miracles do happen!

In the year 2014, two mouse deer were seen and photographed at Kanha National Park. This was a miraculous sighting and a rediscovery had been made. Then again two mouse deer were sighted at Kanha in the year 2022. The tenacity of our wilderness to survive is amazing. Will we see more and more mouse deer species as population increases?

Let’s hope more such discoveries are made. If you come across such rediscovery mouse deer we would be eager to read about it.