Tragulus nigricans


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Tragulus nigricans
Species Authority: Thomas, 1892
Common Name(s):
English Balabac Mouse Deer, Balabac Chevrotain, Philippine Mouse-deer
Tragulus napu Thomas, 1892 subspecies nigricans
Taxonomic Notes: This taxon was recently separated by Meijaard and Groves (2004) as a species distinct from Tragulus napu, in agreement with Sanborn (1952) and Rabor (1977). The population of Pulau Bangi (Malaysia), which lies mid-way between Balabac and the Bornean mainland, and which was almost certainly (and perhaps repeatedly) connected to both by former (late Pleistocene) land bridges (Heaney, 1986), might belong to this species and requires further taxonomic studies.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Oliver, W., Matillano, J. & Widmann, P.
Reviewer(s): Black, P.A. & Gonzalez, S. (Deer Red List Authority)
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence is less than 5,000 km², all individuals are in fewer than five locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, and in the number of mature individuals.
1996 Endangered (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Endangered
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: On current knowledge, this species is endemic to the Philippines, where it is known only from Balabac, Bugsuc and Ramos Islands (Oliver, 1993; Heaney et al., 2002; Grubb, 2005). It has also been introduced to Apulit and Calauit Island (Meijaard and Groves, 2004; Rico and Oliver, 2008).
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The latest survey was in 1993 (Oliver, 1993), when the population was reputed to be quite stable and available information suggested that those on Balabac were seemingly able to withstand sustained hunting pressure. However, more recent information from local hunters indicates that it is now more difficult to capture these animals, suggesting a likely decline.

In the late 1990s, a small stock of eight mouse deer escaped from their enclosures on Calauit Island, where the species had been maintained and bred since 1982. These animals were reported to have increased to at least free-living 21 individuals by 2006 (Rico and Oliver, 2008).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species occurs in primary and secondary lowland forest and shrubland, and may frequent mangroves and more open areas to forage.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is subject to poaching for food, and there is minor domestic trade in living animals.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is subject to poaching for food, and there is minor domestic trade in live animals for local zoos and private collectors. The species is also affected by habitat loss due to conversion of former habitat to coconut plantations and other agriculture.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Mouse deer are surprisingly well-known within the Philippines and constitute a potentially ideal vehicle for promoting increased future conservation, research and education activities in this region (Grubb and Gardiner, 1998), though little or no effective action has been taken to date. The species is fully protected under both Philippine national law and various local (provincial and municipal) ordinances (NRMC, 1985), but these are mostly ineffectively enforced at the present time. The species would undoubtedly also benefit from the establishment of effectively protected areas (it is not currently known from any), and the enhanced enforcement of laws on hunting and trade. Research is needed on its habitat requirements, threats and conservation needs throughout it is extremely limited range; the latter therefore also including Bugsuc Island, much of which is privately-owned and inaccessible to researchers without prior permission. Existing captive populations of this species could be more usefully utilized as the basis for a properly structured conservation breeding programme; though any such initiative should be linked to related in-situ conservation management and applied research requirements.

Citation: Oliver, W., Matillano, J. & Widmann, P. 2008. Tragulus nigricans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 22 May 2015.
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