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Ordinarily I wouldn't be that excited to see sambar, but I was very pleased to see these animals on a night drive, in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam.



Sambar hind, Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam, this hind shows very clearly the so-called sore spot typical of sambar, mentioned in an earlier post







Cat Tien National Park is probably the only protected area left in Vietnam, where sambar are still fairly common, these deer were once found throughout country, but unfortunately sambar venison is so popular in Vietnam, that bushmeat hunters have all but extirpated them from everywhere else, including most protected areas. As an illustration of how popular their meat is and how rare they now are, some restaurants that specialise in bushmeat, will try to pass off muntjac venison as sambar, because they cannot get sambar venison anymore. Poaching for bushmeat is a huge issue in Vietnam and neighbouring countries, all large mammals are now very rare in Indochina, despite there still be being plenty of habitat. On this visit to Vietnam, I don’t recall seeing venison on the menu anywhere, though not everywhere we went had an English menu, so I can’t be sure it wasn’t on offer in some restaurants, we went to, I would definitely not have ordered it, if it had been. Any tourists visiting Indochina ought to be aware of the bushmeat issue, and avoid ordering anything in a restaurant, that could be wild meat. Tourists who aren’t aware of the problem and who eat venison in their home country, might not realise that they should not eat venison in Indochina. I happily eat venison at home, now and again, because I know exactly where it has come from, if I went to a decent restaurant anywhere here, I would not be at all concerned to see it on the menu, whereas I would never order venison anywhere in the Far East, where you can guarantee that it has been hunted unsustainably, from the nearest forest.     

Edited by inyathi
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