Balabac Mousedeer

Mousedeer or chevrotains belong to a very ancient line of hoofed animals; they are not actually deer, but belong to a group of their own, which is equally related to deer, pigs, cattle and other ungulates. The Balabac Mousedeer is restricted to lowland forests of the Balabac group of islands in the very south of Palawan, where it is only recorded from Balabac, Ramos and Bugsuk. Since it is one of the most familiar wildlife species in this area, it has high potential to serve as flagship for the forest ecosystems of this island group. It was recently selected as flagship species of the Municipality of Balabac.

Although very secretive and mostly active during nighttime, Katala Foundation was able to photograph the species in the wild for the first time, both with handheld camera and camera traps. Hunter interviews indicate that the species is heavily persecuted during all times of the year, and indiscriminate of age and gender. Its population has probably declined on Balabac Island as a consequence. However, in other locations, the population is still healthy, not least due to the conservation efforts of Jewelmer Corporation and other private landowners. Katala Foundation supports these efforts by providing technical expertise, conducting patrols within habitats and assisting in habitat restoration and protection.

The species remains at risk due to its very small natural range, therefore it might benefit from conservation introductions to other small islands within the Palawan region, after careful consideration and assessments.