- People sometimes call the Saola the Asian Unicorn, due to its appearance. This highly reclusive creature also remains one of the rarest mammals on earth and represents a genetic cousin of the cow, antelope, and goat.
- This rarely seen bovine evolved as endemic only to the Annamite Range of Vietnam and Laos, in Asia.
- The rather unique animal remained entirely unknown to the outside world until 1992.
- Its habitat also primarily includes the monsoon forests of the region. In early November of 2014, an automated camera spotted a single Saola.
- This represented the first reported sighting in almost 14 years.
Saola Physical Description
Firstly, information about the Saola remains exceedingly scarce, and we, therefore, know only a few things about it. However, based on the few individuals captured, an adult Saola appears to average about 35 ins (90 cm) at the shoulder, and 5 ft (1.5 m) in total body length.
An adult weight also seems to average roughly 220 lb (100 kg). Individuals predominantly show light to dark brown color, and also scattered patches of white in the markings.
Furthermore, the most striking feature of this animal is a pair of rather long horns. These also grow closely spaced and sharply angled in relation to the body. Finally, from a distance these appear as one horn, giving rise to its common name.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Bovidae
- Genus: Pseudoryx
- Species: P. nghetenhensis
Saola Endangered Status
A precise count of the number of Saola seems rather impossible due to the fact that most of its habitat continues to be virtually inaccessible.
However, a projection concerning its numbers does exist.
Based on a combination of unconfirmed reports from local villagers, and physical evidence such as tracks and camera trap sightings, however, researchers estimate that no more 300 still exist.
The few Saola captured never live more than a short time, which forms a tendency that to date remains unexplained.
Given these facts, the IUCN officially lists the animal as Critically Endangered.