Why are saolas so rare?

The saola, often called the Asian unicorn, is a rarely-seen mammal native to forests in the Annamite Mountains of Laos and Vietnam. At least one thing seems fairly certain: The saola is a critically endangered species. It’s unclear exactly how many saolas exist. The species remains incredibly elusive. Scientists have only managed to record a saola in the wild five times with camera traps. It’s clear the saola is in trouble.

Saola is threatened primarily by hunting, rather than habitat loss. Its horns, believed to possess medicinal properties in some Asian medicine practices, fetch exorbitant prices on the black market. The demand for saola horns has led to rampant poaching, further decimating the already dwindling population.

The saola is herbivorous, feeding on plants available in the forest. Although tigers pose a threat, humans are the saola’s greatest predators. Illegal hunting and destruction of the forests they live in puts the saola at a risk of extinction.

Discovered by scientists only in 1992, the saola quickly captured attention with its extraordinary appearance, including long, gracefully spiraled horns. The saola rarely interacts with other animals and tends to avoid human contact. It generally is solitary but has been reported in small groups. Saolas are active during day and night.

In 2006, scientists estimated the saola population at below 750. The number later became less than 100 as the saola made the IUCN red list for endangered species. Scientists estimate the subpopulations will drop to extinction in the next 10 to 15 years if conservation efforts are not successful.

Why are saolas called unicorns?

The saola, also called spindlehorn or Asian unicorn, is one of the world’s rarest large mammals. It is a forest-dwelling bovine native to the Annamite Range in Vietnam and Laos. The saola was discovered in 1992. Its remains were found in Vu Quang National Park. At that time, the saola was the first large mammal new to science since the 1940s. The saola is called the Asian unicorn because of its two long, sharp, parallel horns, which resemble the horns of unicorns in fairy tales. These horns can grow up to 20 inches long.

The saola is a little smaller than the classic unicorn. It can reach up to 85 cm in height and weigh up to 100 kg. It is estimated there are only a couple hundred saolas left. The real number could be as low as 20. The saola is critically endangered by habitat loss and hunting. Its horns have become prized trophies.

Saola lives alone in the dense forests of the Annamite Mountains. It has distinctive dark markings on its face and body that help it camouflage. Although saolas are relatively large animals, they are very shy and difficult to spot. Very little is known about this rare creature. It may soon disappear altogether.

When was the last saola seen?

The saola was last seen in the wild in 2010. There have been no confirmed sightings since then. It is feared that this species may now be extinct. To save saola from extinction, we must rescue surviving individuals and provide a protected habitat. The last saola must be found, caught and transferred to captive breeding facilities located in the range countries. The saola feed on plants in the forest. Although tigers pose a threat, humans are their greatest predators. Illegal hunting and destruction of their habitat puts them at risk of extinction.

The saola rarely interacts with others and tends to avoid humans. It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The Zoological Society of London includes saola in its Top 100 of EDGE species.

Often called the Asian unicorn, little is known about the saola since its discovery two decades ago. None exist in captivity and this rare mammal is already critically endangered.

The last reported saola sighting was in 1999 in Laos. The last time one was spotted in Vietnam was in 1998. When discovered in 1992, it was the first new large mammal in over 50 years.

To save the saola from extinction, we must rescue individuals and provide protected habitat. The last saola must be found, caught and transferred to captive breeding facilities in the range countries. The first facility is being built in Vietnam.

The saola is often seen in small groups. They are shy but have approached humans out of curiosity. After a seven month gestation, a single calf is born. Saolas reach maturity at three years and can live 20 years in the wild.

WWF cooperated to educate audiences about the saola and its endangered status. In the future, communication activities will be organized, especially in areas where saola may live, to mobilize conservation efforts.

The 1999 sighting was the first confirmed sighting since 1998. It confirms an area where saola still occur. The government will strengthen conservation efforts there. First discovered in 1992, the saola is critically endangered with few hundred remaining.

Search efforts to find the last saola were stopped for two years due to the pandemic. Support is needed to initiate surveys and measures to save it from extinction. There is an opportunity to find and save the last saola in Vietnam. The search will also look for other endangered Annamite Mountain species.

Twenty years after its discovery, the saola remains elusive and mystery. The Saola Working Group, WWF and WCS warn it is sliding towards extinction due to hunting and poor reserve management.

Discovered in 1992, no more than a few hundred saola likely remain along the Laos-Vietnam border. “Time is running out,” said the coordinator of the Saola Working Group. A conservation breeding program faces challenges but inaction poses a greater risk.

Capturing some of the last saola and transferring them to a protected breeding facility supervised by experts is the most important step to save this species. But finding and capturing the last saola remains difficult. They are very rare and live in rugged rainforests. The last confirmed record of a saola is a 2013 photograph in the Saola Nature Reserves.

What is killing saola?

The main threats to the saola are hunting and habitat loss. Snares set for wild boar, sambar or barking deer, also trap saola. Saola is threatened primarily by hunting, rather than habitat loss. The main hunting threat comes from commercial poaching, not subsistence hunting by local people. Both males and female saola have horns probably used for protection against predators. The saola are herbivores, so they feed on plants in the forest. Although tigers pose a threat to the saola, their greatest predators are humans, who hunt them for their horns.

Saola give birth between April and June. It is not known whether saola use their horns for mating display. Gestation lasts 8 months. Saola only have one offspring per litter.

In the north of their range, saola are hunted for the prized horns. WWF’s work to protect the saola focuses on research, community based forest management, capacity building and law enforcement strengthening. Often called the Asian unicorn, little is known about the enigmatic saola in the two decades since its discovery. None exist in captivity and this rarely-seen mammal is already critically endangered.

On the brink of extinction, the vaquita is the smallest living cetacean. The single rarest animal is the vaquita porpoise which lives only in the extreme northwestern corner of the Gulf of California in Mexico.

Saola Weakens to a Tropical Storm After Killing at Least 1. The storm pummeled the region before weakening. Another typhoon was forecast to hit Taiwan and eastern China on Sunday.

Despite meager data, all information about the saola points to a clear and protracted decline throughout its small range, the IUCN warns. With zero saolas in captivity, the loss of wild populations would mean the loss of the species. This elusive bovid is endangered due to hunting and habitat loss. Conservation efforts are underway to protect it.

The Saola is listed as Critically Endangered, facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. The scientific name for the Saola is Pseudoryx nghetinhensis. Saolas can live for 8 to 12 years. Though discovered only in 1992, the saola is already critically endangered, with likely fewer than 750 left in the wild.

Leave a Comment