Giant 'Bambi' deer found in rainforest

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A NEW species of deer - described as a giant 'Bambi' - has been discovered in the same rainforest of Vietnam where scientists discovered a new species of ox in 1992.

The discovery of a second new species after half a century without new finds of large mammals has astonished zoologists, who believe the unusually wet conditions in the forest has created a mini 'lost world'.

John MacKinnon, a scientist with the World Wide Fund for Nature, said the deer has been called the Giant Muntjac because it is one and a half times bigger than the largest known muntjac which resembles Disney's Bambi. It has a deep red 'grizzled' coat and the underside of its tail is white, the antlers are 20cms long, bowed inwards and slightly forwards.

The WWF said yesterday that such finds are extremely rare, more so since they come from the same location. Before this latest discovery, there have been only five new species of large mammals discovered this century.

Zoologists discovered the Giant Muntjac last month after analysing skulls and other trophies kept by local hunters. The Giant Muntjac, and the Vu Quang ox discovered in May 1992, live in Vietnam's Vu Quang Nature Reserve. 'It seems to be a refuge for more archaic animals that have not been overwhelmed by modern species,' Dr McKinnon said. 'It's very wet and slippery and almost impossible to walk. These animals seem to cope well.'