Discovery of the Roosevelt’s Barking Deer (Muntiacus rooseveltorum) in Vietnam
Distribution and taxonomic status of the Roosevelt’s Barking Deer (Muntiacus rooseveltorum) have remained poorly understood after more than 80 years since its description. All records of this species so far have been reported only from Lao PDR. During recent surveys in central Vietnam, we found several specimens from local hunting trophies morphologically resembling this species. Our molecular data, including both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, based on collected materials confirm for the first time that M. rooseveltorum is distributed in Vietnam. In addition, the phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that the Roosevelt’s Barking Deer represents a distinct evolutionary lineage closely related to the Truong Son Muntjac, in central Vietnam, and the Leaf Muntjac in Myanmar. Given the rarity of this species and the escalating hunting and habitat loss in the region, it is important to conduct field research to assess its population status. Such information is critically needed to design a conservation plan for this highly elusive and threatened taxon.