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Pattaya Daily News

17 September 2010 :: 14:09:29 pm 39043

Critically Endangered Species Caught by Laotian Villagers

An extremely rare animal known as the ‘Asian Unicorn’, in spite of its two horns, has been captured by Laotian villagers recently.
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Laos, the 17th of September 2010: Listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species, the Saola has never been sighted by biologists in the wild and none exist in captivity.

The animal recently captured by Laotian villagers in the Annamite Mountains in the Laos central province of Bolikhamxay has unfortunately died before the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office reached the remote location.

“The death of this Saola is unfortunate,” said a spokesperson of the provincial conservation unit of Bolikhamxay province. “But at least it confirms an area where it still occurs and the government will immediately move to strengthen conservation efforts there.”

The Saola was only declared a new species in 1992, after biological analysis confirmed its existence upon examination of its physical features and DNA. Resembling the antelopes of North Africa the Saola is said to be closely related to wild cattle more than any other animal.

Confirming the animal’s endangered status, Pierre Comizzoli, a veterinarian with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and a member of the IUCN Saola Working Group said, “At best a few hundred survive, but it may be only a few dozen. The situation is critical”.

The technical team took the carcass to the provincial capital Pakxan for further analysis. “This can be a major step forward in understanding this remarkable and mysterious species. It’s clear that further awareness-raising efforts about the special status of Saola are needed but Saola doesn’t have much time left,” said Dr. Comizzoli.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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