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Musk deer, like this Siberian species, are endangered. Recently, the extremely rare Kashmir musk deer was spotted in Afghanistan. (Credit: Erik Adamsson, Creative Commons)

Rare ‘Vampire Deer’ Spotted in Afghanistan

The Kashmir musk deer have been spotted in Afghanistan and that’s fantastic news. Sci-News reports that scientists documented five sightings of the endangered animal in Nuristand, a province in the eastern part of the country. The last time scientists spotted these creatures in the region was 1948.

Also known as “vampire deer,” musk deer are notable for the male’s fang-like teeth and musk, both of which come in handy during mating season. It’s actually the musk, in addition to meat, that has led to the animal’s endangered status. They have been the target of hunters in search of musk glands that can fetch a lot of money. There are several different species of musk deer that live in a number of Asian countries, with the Kashmir musk deer native to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

The team that spotted the Kashmir musk deer reported their findings in Oryx: The International Journal of Conservation. In the abstract, they note that the forests of Nuristan feature some pretty rough terrain, so there’s still some mystery surrounding the animals that call this region homeĀ . As for the musk deer, the scientists say that the steep climbs in the area mean the animals are hard to approach.