A RARE sambar deer, once thought to be extinct, became roadkill yesterday when it was hit by a car at dawn on the Seletar Expressway (SLE).
Malaysian tourist Chong Chiew Pin was driving a friend to the airport when he thought he saw something ‘floating’ just ahead of him in the dark. It was too late when he realised it was a deer that had come out of the undergrowth along Mandai Road.
The deer, about 1.2m tall, was not a runaway from the Night Safari nearby, which has a sambar deer enclosure.
No one knows how many sambar deer there are in the wild here, according to Mr Subaraj Rajathurai, chairman of the Vertebrate Study Group at the Nature Society (Singapore). He estimates there are fewer than 20 in Singapore. These shy creatures are one of two native species of deer, the other being the barking deer.
Sambar deer were thought to have been extinct by the 1940s, dying out from poaching, predators such as tigers, and their habitats being destroyed.
But last year, a pair of males were sighted at Bukit Brown cemetery, near the MacRitchie Nature Reserve. There were also sightings in Mandai Lake Road, near the Upper Seletar Reservoir.