Talking of not knowing what might show up if you look for it, we liked the story this month of the (re)discovery of an animal many experts thought had died out.
This is the “mouse-deer”, or silver-backed chevrotain, a rabbit-sized animal that is the tiniest relatives of horses, sheep and camels. People thought it was extinct because no one had seen one for nearly 30 years.
But An Nguyen, a scientist, heard about stories from local people in Vietnam and set up cameras in the woods. And lo! He grabbed dozens of pictures.
These extraordinary animals are tiny and dainty but have two long teeth, or ‘fangs’, that some people think make them look like vampires such as Count Dracula. Weird, but true!
Good news, then, that a creature we thought was lost forever has been found. But, of course, there are still many species under threat. It’s good to know that people like An Nguyen are out in the field, trying to help them.
More good news in trying to stop the disappearance of more creatures from a world where we humans are taking up more and more space, was coverage of the efforts of Bayarjargal Agvaantseren to get her fellow Mongolians to create a safe area for the snow leopard.
Only about 4,000 of these beautiful big cats survive and Bayarjargal won a major international prize this year for persuading the Mongolian government to create a big national park and conservation area on the edge of the Gobi Desert. That meant banning miners in the area. That cost the government money. But Bayarjargal persuaded them.
The big winner is the snow leopard. But we’re all pleased. Just enjoy the amazing photos!