The Saola: a rare, elusive and critically endangered species
The Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) is a species of long-horned bovid, discovered in Vietnam in 1992 from horns in hunters’s houses.
The saola is only found in the Vu Quang Nature Reserve, spanning Vietnam and Laos, with total known range only 4,000 square kilometres. It is believed that the saola is a relic species that, along with its habitat, was squeezed into its present small range by climatic changes during and following the last Ice Age.
The saola is so new to science that its basic biology and physiology remains unknown to scientists although many local people are quite knowledgeable.
This enigmatic species was caught on film in September 2013 by a camera trap set by WWF and the Vietnamese government’s Forest Protection Department in the Central Annamite mountains.
While photo traps have recorded the animal, it remains elusive - no scientist has seen a living saola in the wild. As a result population estimates vary widely, from between 70-700 individuals.
Photos: Top / David Hulse/WWF via EDGE; Bottom / W. Robichaud/WCS vía EDGE
Source and more information: Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group/IUCN/SSC, WWF, EDGE