In 1948, a Danish survey team reported seeing Kashmir musk deer in Afghanistan. Since then, no sightings. That is, until a research team led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) confirmed the species' presence during recent surveys.

Traversing the rugged, forested slopes of the country's northeast, the team recorded five sightings, published in the Oct. 22 issue of the journal, Oryx. They reported seeing a solitary male in the same area on three occasions, one female with a juvenile, and one solitary female, which may have been the same individual without her young. All sightings were in steep rocky outcrops interspersed with alpine meadows and scattered, dense high bushes of juniper and rhododendron. According to the researchers, the musk deer were discrete, cryptic, difficult to spot, and could not be photographed.

The species is categorized as Endangered on the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss and poaching. Its scent glands are coveted by wildlife traffickers and are considered more valuable by weight than gold.

Read more in the press release >>