Over the last 20 years or so, the increasingly rare hog deer is believed to have suffered a decline of as much as 50 percent. This decline has been highest in the eastern parts of its range, where it is suspected to have undergone at least a 90 percent decrease. The hog deer is now one of the most threatened large mammals in Indochina, and is believed to be extinct in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and most of Cambodia. Furthermore, it is believed extinct in China and most of Bangladesh. In India and Nepal, outside of protected areas, few viable populations remain, and severe hunting pressure exists (1).
This worrying decline has been caused by a combination of hunting, habitat loss and habitat degradation. In Indochina, rampant hunting for meat, antler trophies and traditional medicines caused an initial decline. The hog deer is reported to be easier to hunt than other deer species in the region, as it occupies open habitats, making it more visible to hunters. Hunting pressure was further compounded by the loss of its wetland habitat to agriculture and urban development (1).
Restricted to fragments of suitable habitat, the species’ ability to move across the landscape is severely limited. This is particularly problematic for the hog deer as it occupies areas that are prone to severe flooding, and the species requires the ability to move among habitats during wet seasons (1). The hog deer’s habitat is also threatened by the development of hydroelectric power stations in South Asia (8) (9).