In Search of the Formosan Sambar


2017 / October

Ivan Chen /photos courtesy of Yen Shih-ching /tr. by Robert Green

Imagine a mountain without its animals—even with the beauty of the landscape intact, it would be like a mountain without a soul. The Formosan sambar deer, which lives in the high mountains, is Taiwan’s largest herbivore, and it was once driven to the verge of extinction by hunting and the destruction of its natural habitat. The success of conservation efforts has reversed this trend in recent years, and the population is expanding. Because the sambar has no natural enemies, however, new challenges have gradually become apparent. The past and future of this iconic species should prompt us to think deeply about the close relationship between mankind and the environment, especially the high mountain environment.

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