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Afghan Vampire Deer Re-Discovered

As children all over prepare to quickly consume (candy) mountains of Halloween goodies, scientists have reportedly “re-discovered” a long-lost species of deer perfect for the recently departed holiday. According to the WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), their research team had previously documented a specific species of musk deer that still thrives in out of the way areas of northeast Afghanistan.


Kashmir musk deer/Image: EarthTouch

According to the WCS, the Kashmir musk deer (Moschus cupreus) was last sighted in 1948 and was very difficult for the investigative team to track as the animal is partial to dense shrubbery and significantly steep rocky outcroppings. What makes this subspecies to the Alpine musk deer unsettling (fresh off of Halloween) is that this cute and cuddly Bambi’s got bite.

This dear of a deer comes complete with its own built-in Halloween accessory. Specifically, the deer has a pair of “vampire” fangs. The herbivorous creature is no biting buck and does not use the fangs for feeding but instead wields them in contests during mating season.

These teeth of terror are not the sole distinguishing characteristic of the animal either. As one may infer from the name, the Kashmir musk deer, said to be endangered in some countries, has scent glands which are said to be sought after by poachers. They sell for as much as $45,000/kg on the black market.


“Vampire” deer is a buck with a bite/Image: INaturalist

The WCS told the press that the preservation of the rare deer is important because the country continues to be climbing marred by military conflict. WCS deputy director of Asia programs Peter Zahler stated: “This rare species, along with better known wildlife such as snow leopards, are the natural heritage of this struggling nation.”

He concluded: “We hope that conditions will stabilize soon to allow WCS and local partners to better evaluate conservation needs of this species.”

Afghan Vampire Deer Re-Discovered

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.