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The Rarest Deer in the World Was Sighted in Panay Island

It was once thought extinct until it was rediscovered in 2009. 
IMAGE SHUTTERSTOCK
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A pair of the world’s rarest species of deer was sighted in Panay Island in April. Footage of the encounter was uploaded on YouTube by Inverts PH. 

For the safety of the deer, Inverts PH did not disclose the exact location where the pair of Visayan Spotted Deer were sighted. 

The encounter and footage is considered exceedingly rare because the Visayan spotted deer is a nocturnal creature and is not often seen in the wild, especially during the day.  

Visayan Spotted Deer Rediscovered

The Visayan spotted deer (Rusa alfredi), aka Prince Alfred’s Deer was once presumed extinct on all seven islands until evidence of its existence, such as footprints and animal droppings, were documented in 2009 by a team of Filipino, British, and Irish biologists who mounted an expedition on Negros Island to search for the creature. 

Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson. Visayan Spotted Deer photographed at the Royal Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh, Scotland on February 15, 2015..
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After publishing their redivcovery, the Phlippine Daily Inquirer ran a headline on in May 2009, which reads: “The World's Rarest Deer Still Roam Negros.”

But it was only in 2012 when scientists were able to get a visual confirmation of the Visayan spotted deer after the Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition set up cameras in the jungle and captured photos of the super-rare species of the dark deer. It was the first time the Visayan spotted deer was photographed in the wild. 

Why is the Visayan Spotted Deer also called Prince Albert’s Deer?

The Visayan spotted deer is sometimes called Prince Alfred's deer because it was Prince Alfred, sovereign duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from 1893 to 1900, who sent the first known specimen of the Visayan spotted deer to renowned Enlgish zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater. Sclater later described the species in his book, but actually labeled it Cervus alfredi

Although the Visayan deer had been known since the 1800s, the it was not recognized as a separate species until 1983.  

Other Species of Philippine Deer

The Philippines has three species of deer, namely, the Philippine brown deer (Rusa marianna), the Calamian deer (Axis calamianensis), and the rarest of all, the Visayan spotted deer (Rusa alfredi). 

U.P. Biology graduate and UERM medical student Juan Miguel Santos created a wildlife map of the Philippines featuring the three deer species and their habitat distribution. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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