A Chinese Serow (Capricornis milneedwardsii) has been photographed by Wildlife Conservation Society researchers working in northern Cambodia. The Serow, classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, was photographed in the Northern Plains of Cambodia by a camera that was triggered remotely when the animal passed by. It is one of a series of images of rare wildlife photographed by the research team.
The Chinese Serow is one of the more enigmatic large mammals found in Cambodia It is thought to be related to goats and sheep, but the number of different species of serow is still to be determined. The Chinese Serow is little known probably because it appears to prefer upland areas and rocky slopes which make it hard to study. This is probably because it is found in many mountainous areas of Lao PDR, Myanmar and China. However, in Cambodia, the serow are especially poorly known perhaps because the majority of large mammal studies have focused on wild cattle and deer in lowland forest.
Studying any wildlife in dense forest is difficult and because serow prefer steep and rocky slopes, estimating the population size of serow in Cambodia is especially complex: transect surveys for large mammals are not easy on sheer rocky slopes. The use of remote cameras, or 'camera-trapping', may not reveal population sizes, but this technique can detect the presence of many species which are normally very wary of humans.
Previously it was thought that their only major stronghold was in the Cardomom Mountains. However, WCS has photographs from both the Northern Plains forests of Preah Vihear (including Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary and Preah Vihear Protected Forest) and Cambodia's newest protected area, the Seima Protection Forest in Mondulkiri. Compiling all the photographs and verified observations of this species across the country will provide a much better understanding of the ecology of the species as it is believed that they can survive in even quite small forested hills.