The Visayan spotted deer is afforded some degree of protection through its occurrence in Mt. Camlaon National Park, North Negros Forest Reserve, Mount Talinis/Lake Balinsasayao Reserve and the proposed West Panay Mountains National Park (5). Although Visayan spotted deer are legally protected, their distribution in remote, dense, inland forest makes the practicalities of guard patrolling very difficult, and hunting therefore continues (3). In 1990, the Philippine Spotted Deer Conservation Program was set up to initiate a captive breeding programme and a number of other conservation measures, including a public education campaign and an annual series of conservation workshops (4) (5). Visayan spotted deer are currently held in captivity in Mari-it Conservation Centre in Panay, two breeding centres in Negros, and a dozen zoos in Europe (7).
Despite the benefits of having a captive population to buffer against total extinction, the fate of the Visayan spotted deer in the wild remains highly uncertain, and current agricultural practices and hunting pressure must change if it has any chance of survival in its natural environment (3). Unfortunately, the poor state of the Philippine economy and political unrest make this an extremely difficult task, and captive-bred individuals will not be released into the wild until they have a fair chance of survival (3). The conservation of this rare and beautiful deer is therefore highly complex, and requires considerable efforts by the Philippine government to stabilise the economic environment before it has any real hope of recovery.