Siberian musk deer
The Siberian musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) is a musk deer found in the mountain forests of Northeast Asia. Its is most common in the taiga of southern Siberia, but is also found in parts of Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria and the Korean peninsula.
It is largely nocturnal, and migrates only over short distances. It prefers altitudes of more than 2600 m. Adults are small, weighing 7–17 kg.
The Siberian musk deer is classified as threatened by the IUCN. It is hunted for its musk gland, which fetches prices as high as $45,000 per kilogram. Only a few tens of grams can be extracted from an adult male. It is possible to remove the gland without killing the deer, but this is seldom done.
The most striking characteristics of the Siberian musk deer are its tusks and kangaroo-like face. Males grow the teeth for display instead of antlers.
A distinct subspecies roams the island of Sakhalin.
Population size and trends
World population: 230,000 Declining
- Russian Federation, Sakhalin population: 600-500 Declining
- Russian Federation, the Eastern Siberian population: 27,000-30,000 Declining
- Russian Federation, Far Eastern population: 150,000 Declining
- Mongolia: 44,000 Declining
- China: unknown Declining
- Democratic People's Republic of Korea: unknown Declining
- Republic of Korea: unknown Declining
Musk chemical composition
Siberian musk deer preputial gland secretions are constituted of free fatty acids and phenols (10%), waxes (38%) and steroids. Cholestanol, cholesterol, androsterone, Δ4-3α-hydroxy-17-ketoandrostene, 5β,3α-hydroxy-17-ketoandrostane, 5α,3β,17α-dihydroxyandrostane, 5β,3α,17β-dihydroxyandrostane and 5β,3α,17α-dihydroxyandrostane can be isolated from the steroid fraction. 3-Methylpentadecanone (muscone) was not identified among the secretion lipids.
- Nyambayar, B., Mix, H. & Tsytsulina, K. (2008). Moschus moschiferus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 29 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of vulnerable.
- National Geographic Channel. Wild Russia. Siberia. (2009)
- Musk deer (Moschus moschiferus): Reinvestigation of main lipid components from preputial gland secretion. V. E. Sokolov, M. Z. Kagan, V. S. Vasilieva, V. I. Prihodko and E. P. Zinkevich, Journal of Chemical Ecology, January 1987, Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 71-83, doi:10.1007/BF01020352