Rare pictures of threatened Eld’s deer in Cambodia
This species is one of the priorities of WWF's Central Indochina Dry Forest Ecoregional Conservation Programme, due to the global significance of the population within the ecoregion, one of WWF's Global 200 ecoregions, and the highly significant threats to its continued existence.
IUCN - the World Conservation Union classifies the species as Vulnerable, and the siamensis sub-species as Data Deficient. However, most conservation biologists believe the siamensis sub-species is globally endangered, and perhaps critically endangered and close to extinction.
The rapid population decline of this species in the last 50 to 60 years in Cambodia and Laos is attributed primarily to hunting, as extensive suitable habitat remains where the species is no longer present. Many parts of the animal are used in traditional medicines, and the species is on the CITES Appendix I list, which bans international trade in listed species.
The Central Indochina Dry Forest Ecoregion Biological Assessment has identified areas of importance to the conservation of this species, and WWF Cambodia is working with government agencies, other NGOs, and local communities to protect it. The traditional range of the species was from Manipur, India, to Hainan Island, China.
Located primarily in northern and eastern Cambodia, the Indochina Dry Forest ecoregion also extends into Thailand, southern Laos and the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The ecoregion lies entirely within the lower Mekong Basin, and contains three of the most important tributaries to the Mekong, namely the Se Kong, Se San, and Srepok Rivers. The unsustainable hunting of wildlife, particularly large mammals, is currently the greatest threat to the ecoregion.
Hunting is carried out both for subsistence purposes and for commercial trade in animals for pets, trophies, food, and medicines. Uncontrolled immigration and associated unsustainable agricultural practices are also major threats.
Agriculture poses a particular threat to wetland habitats where globally significant large water bird populations live, as these wetlands are naturally suited to paddy rice cultivation. Logging, both legal and illegal, is also widespread and particularly jeopardizes the scattered but significant patches of semi-evergreen forest.
For further information:
Hong Hoang Thi Minh
Communications Manager, WWF Indochina
Tel: +84 4 733 8387