A rare and endangered Visayan spotted deer, which was once declared extinct, was recently photographed in its natural habitat.
Also known as the Philippine spotted deer or Prince Alfred’s deer. Its scientific name is Rusa alfredi.
Due to ongoing deforestation and poaching, the population is at a critical level and is classified as severely endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
This spotted deer is one of the “rarest animal species on Earth” and certainly the “rarest deer species on Earth.”
The Visayan spotted deer can only be found on the Visayan islands of the Philippines.
There are said to be less than 100 Visayan spotted deer on the Visayan island of Panay and a maximum of 700 across all the islands.
Some eagle-eyed internet users noticed that the Visayan spotted deer in the images wasn’t alone, leading people to think that it may have been with its partner.
It was spotted in a nature reserve that looks after the conservation of local endangered species.
The adults of the species grow to around 125–130 cm from the top of its head to the end of its tail. It stands at 70 to 80 cm tall and weighs between 25 to 80 kg.
The Visayan spotted deer is the biggest deer species found only in the Visayas, despite having short legs.
Compared to other deer species in the Philippines, Visayan spotted deer are simple to identify thanks to their distinct patterns of beige spots.
The Visayan spotted deer was also observed in the wild back in 2018 on the Visayan island of Negros.
The Visayan spotted deer is one of the species protected by Republic Act No. 9147,
‘An Act providing for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and their habitats, appropriating funds therefor and for other purposes.’
This act went into effect on July 30, 2001, and as a result, hunting the Visayan spotted deer is prohibited.