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 Pilandok

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reggie
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reggie


Male Number of posts : 639
Age : 54
Registration date : 2007-07-26

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PostSubject: Pilandok   Pilandok Icon_minitimeSun Aug 05, 2007 3:04 pm

Pilandok


South of Palawan, lies the Balabac Island, home of
the world's smallest hoofed mammal - the Philippine mouse deer. Locally
known as Pilandok (Tragalus nigricans), this ruminant stands only about
40 centimeters at the shoulder level.



In other countries, it is called chevrotain, or simply mouse deer. It
is among the endemic, yet threatened species in Palawan, which also
serves as a sanctuary to the Palawan eagle, the scaly anteater, giant
turtles, Palawan peacock pheasant, Palawan bearcat, and the Tabon bird.



Pilandok belongs to the family Tragulidae in the mammalian order Artiodactyla.
Contrary to its name, pilandok is not a member of the deer family. The
male species has no antlers like those of a real deer. Instead, it uses
its large tusk-like canine teeth on its upper jaw for self-defense;
in the same way a deer uses its antlers.



It has rabbit-like body and an arched back that is covered by brown
fur, with a white base. A dark line runs from each ear past the eye
toward the nose. Its slender legs, about the size of a pencil, end in
small feet. Its most distinct feature is its tapered pig-like snout.



Pilandok is a solitary nocturnal animal that hunts for food at night,
feeding mainly on leaves, fruits, flowers, twigs, shrubs and other vegetation
in the dense forest or near mangrove swamps. During the day, it stays
in the forest and avoids movement, sometimes resting in the branches
of low trees. Extremely territorial by nature, both sexes of larger
Malay mouse deer regularly mark their territories with urine, feces,
and secretions from an intermandibular gland under the chin.



Aside from the Pilandok, other mouse deer species include the smaller
Malay mouse deer, or napu, the larger Malay mouse deer, and the African
water chevrotain. They are found in Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, and India.
While the mouse deer are widely distributed across Asia, their dwindling
population has alarmed the World Conservation Union, which declared
them as endangered in 1996.



In the Philippines, efforts are being made to protect the remaining
population of Pilandok. Several pairs of these ruminants were in fact
shipped to the nearby Calauit Island, so that they could start propagating.
We can only hope for the continued existence of this exotic animal.
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