The Ministry of Environment released pictures of a large-antlered muntjac or Giant muntjac taken by motion-sensor cameras placed by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) Cambodia in March.

The ministry said its research team and FFI were conducting a study on wildlife and captured the pictures of the rare and critically endangered species on March 6 via the cameras installed in Virachey National Park in Ratanakkiri and Stung Treng provinces.

“The study aimed to show the wondrous biodiversity in Virachey National Park. The data gathered will be used for sustainable management of national parks,” the ministry said on December 18.

“The pictures prove that Virachey National Park is a national treasure and must be protected for future generations.”

Virachey National Park stretches across 3,325sq km from Taveng and Veurn Sai districts of Ratanakkiri province to Siem Pang district of Stung Treng province. It is the largest park in Cambodia and bigger than the national parks in neighbouring Laos and Vietnam, according to the Ratanakkiri Provincial Administration.

It is regarded as a stronghold for Cambodia’s biodiversity, but one that is under threat. The park also contains trees that are thousands of years old and habitat for hundreds of species of birds and reptiles.

FFI said on December 16 that the large-antlered muntjac pictures not only included several images of adult males and females, but also numerous photos featuring a baby deer – the first time a fawn of this species has been captured on motion-sensor camera in Cambodia.

The press release said the Virachey National Park was of global conservation importance because the park’s rich tapestry of forests provides sanctuary to so much incredible wildlife, including the largest and globally most significant population of the northern yellow-cheeked crested gibbon, a primate that is on the brink of extinction.

“For the Cambodian people, Virachey holds a very special significance as a sort of ‘last frontier’ – an area that had previously not been fully explored and even now likely retains much to be discovered,” said Jeremy Parker, country director for FFI’s Cambodia programme.

According to Parker, FFI has deployed over 80 cameras within seven separate grids to provide as much coverage of the park as possible that encompasses many different altitudes and habitat types, including tropical evergreen forests, bamboo landscapes, grasslands, rivers, streams and mountain peaks.