The Asian Unicorn
What are saola?
Where are saola found?
Why are they under threat?
Forests are disappearing as more and more trees are being chopped down and the saola's habitat is quickly shrinking in size. (1)'Conservationists are concerned that this is allowing hunters easy access to the once untouched forest of the saola and may reduce genetic diversity in the future'.
They are accidentally caught in snares which are used to catch wild boar, sambar or muntjac deer. The local villagers set these up for crop protection. Hunting to supply illegal trade of wildlife has escalated and has led to massive increases in hunting from the demand in medicines, restaurants and food markets. The saolas' horns are used as a trophy while the rest of the body is used in natural medicines and remedies.
Graph of saolas population declining
Two different points of veiw
A native vietnamese scientist
The discovery of the saola showed that the world can still keep a secret and it made a break from the heap of bad news about the environment. (4)'If only humans had reciprocated and offered the saola a reprieve. A decade after coming to light, the unusual ungulate is skidding toward extinction. Its habitat in Vietnam and Laos is disappearing as human settlements eat into the forest, and it is inadvertently being killed by hunters'.
An American website for kids
(3)'The saola is a unique-looking animal that lives only in the forests on the border of north-central Vietnam and Laos. Saola is also known as Asian unicorn because it is rarely seen in the nature and people sometimes think of saola like it is an imagined creature. Although not much is known about saola, it is listed as critically endangered species due to accelerated habitat loss and hunt.'
"The Saola is also known as the Asian Unicorn, which is not thought to be related to it's long horns, but more the fact that it is just so rare."
How is this issue affecting people/the environment?
What is being done or could be done to solve this issue?
(1)'WWF's work to support the saola focuses on stregthining and establishing protected areas. We also work on research, community based forest management, capacity building and stregthining law enforcement'. WWF helped improve Vu Quang Nature Reserve where saola are found. In the last four years they have helped to make saola reserves in the Thua-Thien Hue and Quang Nam provinces.