Endangered 'Asian unicorn' sighted

Thursday, November 14, 2013

File photo of Pseudoryx nghetinhensis, the Asian unicorn.
Image: Gió Đông.

On Tuesday, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced that a living saola, or "Asian unicorn", has been photographed in Central Vietnam. The picture was recorded last September by a camera trap placed by the Vietnamese government and the WWF.

The saola, an antelope-like animal with long horns, had not been seen in Vietnam since 1998, said Quảng Nam Forest Protection Department Deputy Head Dang Dinh Nguyen. The saola is critically endangered, according to the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. The WWF estimates only a few dozen saola, or at most a few hundred, survive in remote, dense upland forests along Vietnam's border with Laos. They have never survived in captivity.

The WWF hopes to help save the saola from extinction by safeguarding its habitat from poachers. Their country director for Vietnam, Van Ngoc Thinh, said, "This is a breathtaking discovery and renews hope for the recovery of the species."