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Animal Info - Giant Muntjac

(Other Names: 越南大麂,  オオホエジカ, Large-antlered Muntjac,  Muntjac Géant, Riesenmuntjak)

Megamuntiacus (Muntiacus) vuquangensis

Status: Data Deficient


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Birth Season, Birth Rate, Social Organization)
5. References


Profile

Picture: Giant Muntjac (93 Kb GIF) (Weitzel 1998b)

The giant muntjac is a deer, about the size of a large dog, that weighs 30 - 50 kg (66 - 110 lb). It is found mostly in evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, and it apparently prefers primary forests, although it has been noted in second-growth areas and degraded forests. It has been found at altitudes from 500 -1200 m (1600 - 3900'). Only single young have been observed with females, and adults are apparently solitary.

The giant muntjac was first recorded in 1994 in northcentral Vietnam. It has since been found all along the Truong Son (formerly "Annamite") Mountains that straddle the border between Vietnam and Laos, and the Central Highlands, as well as in eastern Cambodia. It appears to be widespread within its known range, varying from common to rare in most areas.

The giant muntjac is threatened by heavy hunting pressure, as well as by habitat degradation due to logging and slash-and-burn agriculture.


Tidbits

*** The scientists who discovered this species called it the "giant" muntjac because it is almost twice as big as the largest previously known muntjac. One female measured 67 cm (2.2') at the shoulder (Schaller & Vrba 1996).

*** The scientific name selected for this species, Megamuntiacus vuquangensis, refers to the Vu Quang Nature Reserve in Vietnam, where it was first recorded. This follows the recent custom of naming newly identified mammal species for geographic locations near where they were first found. Such species include: the Truong Son muntjac, named Muntiacus truongsonensis for the Truong Son (formerly "Annamite") range of mountains where it was found in Vietnam; the saola, named Pseudoryx nghetinhensis for the two Vietnamese provinces Nghe An and Ha Tinh; the leaf muntjac, named Muntiacus putaoensis for the town, Putao, nearest to where it was found in Myanmar; and the Tainguen civet, Viverra tainguensis, named for the Tainguen Plateau in Vietnam. (Amato et al. 1999, Rozhnov & Pham Trong Anh 1999, Wikramanayake 1999)

*** Muntjacs are also known as "barking deer" because they make a deep, barklike sound as a warning if they sense a predator nearby.


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

Countries Where the Giant Muntjac Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. (IUCN 2004)

History of Distribution:

Although not described by scientists until 1994, the giant muntjac does appear to have been reported in the literature early in the 20th century by a French hunter, who found it in the Annamite (now called Truong Son) Mountains (de Monestrol 1925, cited in Wemmer et al. 1998).

The giant muntjac was first recorded in 1994 in Ha Tinh Province in northcentral Vietnam and the adjoining areas in the Nakai Plateau in Laos. Subsequent investigations revealed a wider distribution all along the Truong Son Mountains that straddle the border between Vietnam and Laos, and the Central Highlands. The northern and southern range limits are still unknown. In Vietnam it has been found as far south as the Dalat Plateau in central Annam. Its presence has also been confirmed in the eastern province of Mondulkiri in Cambodia. It appears to be widespread within its known range, varying from common to rare in most areas.

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

The giant muntjac is threatened by heavy hunting pressure, as well as by habitat degradation due to logging and slash-and-burn agriculture.


Data on Biology and Ecology

Weight:

An adult female giant muntjac weighed 34 kg (75 lb); adult males probably weigh 40 - 50 kg (90 - 110 lb) (Nowak 1999).

Habitat:

The giant muntjac is found mostly in evergreen and semi-evergreen dipterocarp forests. It apparently prefers primary forests, although it has been noted in second-growth areas in Laos and Vietnam. It has been reported from dry primary hill evergreen forests and degraded lowland semi-evergreen forests in Laos. The two areas in Cambodia where it has been reported are comprised of a mosaic of moist to dry deciduous forests with some patches of evergreen forest. It has been found at altitudes from 500 - 1200 m (1600 - 3900'). (Wemmer et al. 1998)

The giant muntjac lives in both the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl. 2005) as well as the Annamite Range Moist Forests and Eastern Indochina Dry & Monsoon Forests Global 200 Ecoregions (Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999).

Birth Season:

A female giant muntjac killed on January 6 was pregnant with a 165 g (6 oz) fetus (Nowak 1999).

Birth Rate:

Only single young have been observed with females.

Social Organization:

The giant muntjac is said by local hunters to be solitary, except for females with single young. 


References

Amato et al. 1999, Cons. Intl. 2005, IUCN 2004, Nowak 1999, Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999, Oryx 1994f, Rozhnov & Pham Trong Anh 1999, Schaller & Vrba 1996, Timmins et al. 1998, Weitzel 1998b, Wemmer et al. 1998, Wikramanayake 1999


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Last modified: March 5, 2005;

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