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Common Name : White-spotted Chevrotain     -       Scientific Name : Moschiola meminna       -       Other Name : Sri Lanka Mouse Deer, Sri Lanka Sudu Thith Meeminna (S)
Panikkar Villu
09/22/2013
Panikkar Villu
09/22/2013
Panikkar Villu
09/22/2013
Panikkar Villu
09/22/2013
Panikkar Villu
09/22/2013
Kumutu Wila
12/24/2016

This common but elusive species is endemic to Sri Lanka. The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (National Red List 2012) and it is protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

While the above species is only found in the Dry Zone jungles, the Yellow- striped Chevrotain Moshiola kathygre, which is also an endemic is found in the wet zone from the Sinharaja Forest Reserve through the low lands around Colombo north to Katagamuwa bordering the Dry Zone.  In the hills I have observed the west zone species to be moderately plentiful in the lower regions of the Knuckles Forest Reserve up to an altitude of about 1400 meters and at the Keleniwally Forest Reserve in Kitulgala.

Other than in Wilpattu I have seen the aforesaid dry zone species at Udawalawa National Park, Sigiriya, Pigurangala, Aralaganwila, Wellawaya, and Tangalle. Even though it is a common species it is seldom seen during the day, as it is mostly crepuscular and nocturnal. However once during mid day I observed a dominant male of this species chase off an intruding male at Pidurangala. I was concealed inside a “hide”, close to a small pool of water at the edge of the forest, expecting to photograph an Orange-headed Ground Thrush. All at once some animal running on the dry leaves of the forest floor disturbed the stillness and the calm that prevailed. It was a terrified Mouse Deer that came speeding through the jungle pursued by another, and stopped momentarily a few feet to the right of my hide and continued to run across a small foot path to the forest on the opposite side. Having chased off the intruder the dominant male slowly walked back into the forest permitting me to take a few prized shots.

I once observed a carcass of one of these animals in Hambantota run over by a vehicle. Its canine teeth were longer and well developed than the rest of its teeth resembling those of the Barking Deer.

In Wilpattu I have seen this species on a few occasions in the well-wooded areas at Kombansanchi Pooval, Thambi Oluwa, Kokkare Villu uda para, Panikkar Villu and close to Mila Wewa. However on the 22nd of September 2013 I came upon one individual at Panikkar Villu out in the open around 11.30am. After some time it moved slowly into the forest permitting me to get some very rare photos of this generally nocturnal and elusive animal. This sighting in an open grass field by the side of the road in broad daylight was most unusual for this species.