New mouse deer found?
Many species of animals are reportedly going extinct in all areas of
the world, while several new species have also been discovered from many
countries including Indonesia.
Reports of a possibly new species of mammal was recently heard from
our own country.
it is not confirmed whether it is a new species or a sub-species, the
mountain mouse deer, known as meeminna in Sinhala, is a very rare find
and is thought to be endemic to Sri Lanka.
The discovery was made by renowned wildlife photographer and
specialist Gehan de Silva Wijeyratne and naturalist Nadeera Weerasinghe
at the Horton Plains National Park.
They also managed to temporarily capture the animal, photograph it
and take a blood sample for DNA testing, before releasing it back into
The mouse deer, which is slightly bigger than a cat, is the smallest
variety of deer found both in wet and dry zone forests in Sri Lanka. It
lacks the antlers of its bigger cousins.
Three varieties of mouse deer had previously been identified by
taxonomists (those who classify living beings into groups) as endemic to
the region including Sri Lanka and South India.
The Indian mouse deer Moschiola indica is endemic to the Eastern
Ghats of India. In Sri Lanka, two varieties of endemic mouse deer had
been identified; the white spotted mouse deer (Moschiola meeminna) which
lives in the dry zone, and the yellow striped mouse deer (Moschiola
kathygre) which lives in the wet zone. Sri Lanka is said to have 18
species of endemic mammals.