Rare saola, dubbed 'Asian unicorn,' photographed in Vietnam

Nov. 13, 2013 at 6:15 PM
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HANOI, Vietnam, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A wildlife conservation group said a saola, an animal so rare it was dubbed the "Asian unicorn," was photographed by remote cameras in a Vietnamese forest.

The World Wide Fund for Nature announced Tuesday remote cameras in the Central Annamite Mountains captured pictures in September depicting a live saola, a cattle relative that resembles an antelope with a pair of closely spaced parallel horns, CNN reported Wednesday.

Officials said no more than a few hundred and possibly as few as a couple dozen saolas are believed to exist in the wild, and there are no animals in captivity.

"These are the most important wild animal photographs taken in Asia, and perhaps the world, in at least the past decade," said William Robichaud, coordinator of the Saola Working Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Species Survival Commission.

The WWF said the saola was first discovered in forests along the Vietnam-Laos border, and the last saola seen in the wilds of Vietnam was spotted in 1998. One of the animals was photographed in Laos in 1999, and a saola captured by residents of a Laotian village died before word reached researchers in 2010.

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