Pronounced sow-la. Dubbed the ‘Asian Unicorn’ because of its rarity.
The saola lives in broadleaf rainforests in the Annamite Mountains of The Loa People's Democratic Republic and Viet Nam in evergreen forests with little or no dry season.
They are solitary animals. Sometimes they have appeared in pairs. It is thought that the saola breeds seasonally between the end of August and the middle of November in Laos. Births tend to occur between mid-April and late June. The timing of the wet and dry seasons is different in Vietnam, so the saola's breeding season may be different there.
Perhaps 8-9 years (based on a single animal).
The actual size of the remaining saola population is unknown. The current population is thought to be a few hundred at a maximum and possibly only a few dozen at a minimum.
Discovered in 1992, the saola was the first large mammal new to science in more than 50 years.
Saola means "spindle horns” in Vietnamese.
Saola are a cousin of cattle but resemble an antelope.
Why Are They Endangered?
As forests disappear under the chainsaw to make way for agriculture, plantations and infrastructure, saola are being squeezed into smaller spaces. The added pressure from rapid and large-scale infrastructure in the region is also fragmenting saola habitat. 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.