An Nguyen

Associate Conservation Scientist, Re:wild

    Education

    B.S. Biology, Ho Chi Minh City University of Science

    "That we were able to find the Silver-backed Chevrotain with so few leads and in a relatively short period of time shows how a little bit of effort and willpower can go a long way in finding some of these special species lost to science."

    An Nguyen is part of the Re:wild team that cracked the case of the Silver-backed Chevrotain. The fanged “mouse deer,” a small ungulate species about the size of a football, hadn’t been seen by scientists in the wild since 1990, and only a handful of times before that nearly a century earlier. 

    Searching for the Silver-backed Chevrotain (Artwork by Eric Losh)

    An’s determination and superior sleuthing helped the expedition team find the first mammal on Re:wild’s “Most Wanted” Top 25 Lost Species List. An is an Associate Conservation Scientist with Re:wild and a Ph.D. student at Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. An has spent almost 10 years conducting field surveys for rare mammals in Laos and Vietnam. Using the local knowledge of villagers and government forest rangers and with the help of camera traps, An and his team were able to snap not just one but hundreds of photos of the Silver-backed Chevrotain.  

    An Nguyen (right) setting up camera traps in search of the Silver-backed Chevrotain. (Andrew Tilker/Re:wild)

    In addition to rediscovering the Silver-backed Chevrotain, An is now committed to saving wildlife in Vietnam and rewilding the Annamite Mountains. As a member of the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and the IUCN-SSC Large-antlered Muntjac Working Group, he works to protect and save other species native to Vietnam.

    A camera trap photo of a Silver-backed Chevrotain. (SIE/Leibniz-IZW/NCNP)

    Top photo: A pine forest in Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, Vietnam, an ecoregion in the Annamites. (Andrew Tilker/Re:wild)

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    Wild Facts

    • Every time An Nguyen finds a mammal in the wild that he’s never detected before, he adds to a tattoo on his arm to commemorate the discovery.

    • Until it was discovered using camera traps in 2019, the Silver-backed Chevrotain had not been seen by a scientist since 1990.

    • Using camera traps, An Nguyen and the Silver-backed Chevrotain expedition team were able to capture hundreds of photos of the chevrotain in just a few months. These are considered the first photos of the species in the wild.

    Willcox, D.H.A., Tran, Q.P., Hoang, M.D. and Nguyen, T.T.A., 2014. The decline of non-Panthera cat species in Vietnam. Cat News8, pp.53-116.

    Related Work

    annamites

    The rugged mountain home of ultra-rare species.

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