Reserve established for one of world's rarest animals
The rarity of the saola gives it mythical status in some parts of Asia, with some referring to it as Asia's "unicorn."
April 13th, 2011
07:02 PM ET

Reserve established for one of world's rarest animals

Vietnamese officials are setting up a nature reserve to protect one of the world's rarest animals, the saola, sometimes known as Asia's "unicorn."

A few hundred are believed to remain in the wild, inhabiting the Annamite Mountains along the border of Vietnam and Laos in Southeast Asia, according to the World Wildlife Fund, which, along with the Quang Nam Provincial Forest Protection Department, announced the establishment of the Saola Nature Reserve in the province.

None of the animals are in captivity, and the few that have been caught have survived only a short time, including one that villagers in Laos captured last year.

“The establishment of this new Saola Nature Reserve shows a strong commitment by the Vietnamese government and Quang Nam Province in the conservation of this highly threatened endemic species,” said Tran Minh Hien, country director of WWF-Vietnam, said in a press release. “This new reserve will create a biodiversity corridor connecting the East of Vietnam to West side of Xe Sap National Park in Laos.”

The saola is about 3 feet tall, weighs as much as 220 pounds and has two closely spaced horns that can reach almost 20 inches in length, according to the WWF.

WWF forest guards and rangers will patrol the area, looking for snares set for wild boar and barking deer that also could trap the saola. The animals also have been hunted for their horns, which are prized as trophies, according to the WWF.

The saola was first discovered in 1992, and the one captured in Laos last year was the first confirmed sighting of the animal since 1999, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The rarity of the saola gives it mythical status in some circles, according to that organization. Although the saola has two horns, it may be the basis of the Chinese unicorn, the qilin, the group says. It is unknown if the saola ever existed in China, however.

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Filed under: Animals • Nature • Vietnam
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank - (R-Ohio)

    Very nice animal. Very nice indeed. OFFTOPIC $4 gas IS here. Don't buy gas on Fridays.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    @julie...I hear ya. hope you post often. @banasy...hey babe. (he he) well, you called me 'baby' on FB. touche!!! And gn Jazzy! Sweet dreams.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy

    @Nancy: LMAO!
    @Philip: Hey, baby. Where did you see the little guy at?

    April 13, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Don't care

    A two horned unicorn is an oxymoron. Sort of like two handed solitare.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Lots of creatures are mis-named; this one because the second horn is so close to the first one that it isn't noticable all the time. An oxymoron is an ox that is missing its head instead of something else.

      April 14, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. banasy


    @mania: Nancy asked what Bobo lorded over...his imaginary serfs on the bathroom floor while he sat on the porcelain throne. Hope this helps clarify.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Thank you. You have perfectly articulated my thoughts on the matter.

      April 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy

    @ it definitely has one corn: click on the link about the one caught in Laos last year. There are two.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. down south

    it even says it has 2 horns in the article

    April 13, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Philip

    It's not corns. It's maggots. She's been dead three weeks. sheeska!

    April 13, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. raven

    My gramma had a corn.and a bunion,how come shes not in the headlines??

    April 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Unknown

    Since it has two horns, should it be called a bicorn?

    April 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cpuls and it has TWO horns!

    The saola is about 3 feet tall, weighs as much as 220 pounds and has TWO closely spaced horns that can reach almost 20 inches in length, according to the WWF.... read the article

    April 13, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Genius

      Chubby little bugger, isn't it?

      April 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sidsid

    aliens don't exists, they say :):):)
    so beautiful. I didn't read the article but wonder how talk it is?

    April 13, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy

    The second comment, Nancy. The serf comment. LMAO all over again!

    April 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. cynos

    This one will be extinct shortly. Apparently people can't stop themselves from capturing / killing them.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Don't just sit there spewing your pessimism. Do something!

      April 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Amanda Flash

    Hey did anyone know that this unicorn is frickin cute and go save the Bicorn aka Unicorn because unicorns and bicorns r sickness. but make sure they dont go all gangsta on u ppl.
    Peace Out Peeps gtg to sleep!!! xD <3

    April 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
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