1 Tahrcountry Musings: Saola the Rare Asian Animal Facing Extinction

Friday, September 04, 2009

Saola the Rare Asian Animal Facing Extinction

The Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) the rare Asian animal is staring in the face of extinction. Saola inhabits remote valleys of the Annamite Mountains along the border of Lao PDR and Vietnam. It was discovered only in 1992 and is restricted to a small range. The wild population is not more than a few hundreds. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists Saola as critically endangered

Saola resemble the desert antelopes of Arabia, but are more closely related to wild cattle. Saola have rarely been seen or photographed by scientists. None is held captive in any zoo, anywhere in the world.
The white facial markings and long tapering horns makes the animal a picture of beauty.

The direct threat to the species is hunting. Snaring and hunting with dogs is adopted by poachers.

Conservation biologists under the auspices of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) met in Vientiane, Lao PDR, from August 19-21, to address the extinction threat.

At the meeting the following points were highlighted for the conservation of the species
  • Improved methods to detect Saola in the wild;
  • Radio tracking to understand the animal's conservation needs;
  • Heightened awareness in Lao PDR, Vietnam and within the world conservation community of the perilous status of the species; and
  • Markedly increased donor support for Saola conservation.
It would be a shame if this beautiful animal goes extinct.

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