Photo in Vietnam shows mammal unseen for 15 years

Nov 13, 2013
This photo taken in 1993 and released by WWF shows a Saola in Vietnam when it was captured. It was one of two Saola captured alive in central Vietnam, but both died months later in captivity. Saola, one of the rarest and most threatened mammals on earth has been caught on camera in Vietnam for the first time in 15 years in September in central Vietnam, renewing hope for the recovery of the species, international conservation group WWF said Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/WWF)

A camera trap in a forest in central Vietnam has managed to snap a photo of one of earth's rarest mammals, the saola, which hadn't been seen in 15 years.

The antelope-like, long-horned ox appears to walk through dense foliage at the edge of the camera's range in the image taken in September. Conservation group WWF released the image along with a statement Wednesday.

"This is a breathtaking discovery and renews hope for the recovery of the species," Van Ngoc Thinh, WWF's Vietnam director, was quoted as saying.

The animal was discovered in remote mountains near Laos in 1992 when a joint team of WWF and Vietnam's forest control agency found a skull with unusual horns in a hunter's home. The find proved to be the first large mammal new to science in more than 50 years, according to the WWF.

Two saola were captured in central Vietnam in 1993 but died in captivity after several months.

The last sighting of a saola in the wild was in 1998, according to Dang Dinh Nguyen, director of a saola nature reserve in Vietnam's central province of Quang Nam.

In the area where the saola was photographed, WWF has recruited forest guards locally to remove snares and battle illegal hunting, the greatest threat to saolas' survival, the statement said. The snares had been set largely to catch other animals, such as deer and civets, which are a delicacy in Vietnam.

This Sept. 7, 2013 photo released by WWF, shows the Saola in a forest in Vietnam. The Saola, a long-horned ox, one of the rarest and most threatened mammals on earth has been caught on camera in Vietnam for the first time in 15 years, renewing hope for the recovery of the species, the international conservation group said, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/WWF)

Twenty years since they were first known to science, the elusive mammals remain hard to detect and little is known about them.

At best, no more than few hundred, and maybe only a few dozen, live in the remote, dense forests along Vietnam's border with Laos, WWF said.

Explore further: NOAA's Marine Debris Program reports on the national issue of derelict fishing traps

5 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New hope for survival for elusive Saola

Apr 14, 2011

Indochina’s elusive saola, a recently discovered and critically endangered relative of antelopes and cattle, now has new hope for survival with the establishment of a dedicated nature reserve in the province ...

Last chance to save the saola from extinction?

Sep 03, 2009

Conservation biologists based in four countries gathered for an emergency meeting in Vientiane, Lao PDR, August 19, to address the peril of extinction facing one the world's most enigmatic mammals, the Saola.

New endangered giant ibis found in Cambodia

Aug 20, 2013

Jubilant conservationists expressed hope Tuesday for the survival of the critically-endangered giant ibis after a nest of the bird species was discovered in a previously unknown habitat in northeastern Cambodia.

New animal and plant species found in Vietnam

Sep 26, 2007

World Wildlife Fund scientists said today that the discovery of 11 new animal and plant species in a remote area in central Vietnam underscores the importance of conservation efforts in the ancient tropical forests of the ...

Recommended for you

New study charts the global invasion of crop pests

8 hours ago

Many of the world's most important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

Zambia lifts ban on safari hunting

10 hours ago

Zambia has lifted a 20-month ban on safari hunting because it has lost too much revenue, but lions and leopards will remain protected, the government said Wednesday.

The devastating spread of the mountain pine beetle

17 hours ago

When the mountain pine beetle began blazing a path across forests in British Columbia and Alberta, nobody could have imagined the extent of the damage to come. But as the insect devastated pine forests and ...

User comments : 0