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. Philip

    @Nancy! Wow...I finally found you. I adore your comments and loiok for them regularly. Thanx. hay raven! @raven.... sheesh! Are ya still here? And banasy...whatever. lmao

    April 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    @Nancy...what woiuld you have me do? ( more cynic, but whatever) are you gionna kiss me or mot? Are we gonna do this a while? he he. Yeeeee Hawwwwww. Just listening to C/W as I posy.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Common Sense

    Pretty soon they will need to take in regular animals the way they are dying off.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    It ain't much but fires right up and gets me from A to Z. I'm a family man, and that's whta I am. There's a f readon that I am a family man. I listen to the words I just posted on Country Western radio INSTEAD of rappity hip hpity hop. We are NOT that. We are this: good folk who sing forth goodness.bright?

    April 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lord Of Darkness

    The duocorn dies tonight....

    April 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cpc65

    They need to send Tom Cruise there to protect these "unicorns" just like he did as Jack in the movie Legend. Just leave Mia Sara, aka Lili behind though.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Genius

      If you leave Mia Sara behind at my place, you've got a deal.

      April 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chedar

    I like reading some funny expression kids are doing here. I enjoy it immensely. Have a good day guys. You are funny

    April 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. crockett

    If I put two closely spaced wieners together in a cornbread bun, do I get a uni-corndog?

    April 14, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. Col. Bat Guano

    We used to eat those damn things during the vietnam war.

    April 14, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    Hey Philip! Seems like I always miss everyone. Im still thinkin its my breath!

    April 14, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. brenda

    @julie thank you so much for the great message on saving all animals in general god bless you. Hope to read more of your blog's in the near future. 🙂

    April 14, 2011 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Cactus Pete

    Looks Delicious...

    April 14, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Millworks

    It's just a midget deer, every thing is dinky over there.

    April 14, 2011 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. Steve Wyatt

    Saola steaks anyone? The carnivore in me see's a tasty treat.

    April 14, 2011 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joey

    Why does the WWF have anything to do with this? Are they going to send The Rock over to Vietnam to protect this deer/horse thing? He has better things to do, like make movies.

    April 14, 2011 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
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