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Rare deer spotted at high altitude

A rare species of deer has been seen at high altitude in northwest China, authorities said Saturday.

A group of 8 sambar deer were found in Qinghai Province near the sources of the Lancang, Yangtze and Yellow rivers, more than 4,000 meters above sea level.

"They are similar to red deer commonly found on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, but there are several differences," said Cheng Ga, a local environment officer.

Months of observations confirmed that the animals were sambar deer, the biggest deer species found in tropical and sub-tropical areas, said Zhao Xiang, a researcher with Beijing Shanshui Conservation Center.

"It is extremely unusual to find sambar deer in such high, cold areas," Zhao said.

Zhao said that the discovery may indicate that the environment at the river sources is improving.

"Climate change could also be an important reason," Zhao added.

The sambar deer is listed as "vulnerable" on the IUCN red list of threatened species.


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