A rare species of deer, whose perhaps most distinctive feature is its pointy, vampire-like fangs, has been rediscovered roaming in the wilderness of Afghanistan more than half a century after last being spotted.
According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a survey team confirmed seeing the elusive animals, called Kashmir musk deer, on five separate occasions in Afghanistan's rugged northeastern corner. But like the mythical, bloodsucking beings they bear an uncanny resemblance to, researchers say the deer were "cryptic, difficult to spot, and could not be photographed."
Nevertheless, the finding comes as welcome news that the species, which had last been documented by Dutch scientists in 1948, continues to inhabit the region despite persistent threats.
Little is known about Kashmir musk deer, whose range includes parts of India and Pakistan, other than the fact that they are in decline. The IUCN lists the deer as "endangered," estimating that their population has dropped by 50 percent in just over 20 years. The animals have been hunted in excess for both their meat and their namesake musk glands, which are traditionally believed to have medicinal qualities.