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: GMO mosquito plan sparks outcry in Florida

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

GMO mosquito plan sparks outcry in Florida

14 minutes ago

A British company's plan to unleash hordes of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida to reduce the threat of dengue fever and other diseases has sparked an outcry from fearful residents.

Population genomics unveil seahorse domain

19 hours ago

In a finding vital to effective species management, a team including City College of New York biologists has determined that the lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) is more a permanent resident of the we ...

Researchers develop new potato cultivar

22 hours ago

Dakota Ruby is the name of a new potato cultivar developed by the NDSU potato breeding project and released by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. Dakota Ruby has bright red skin, stores well and is intended ...

Researchers develop new soybean variety

22 hours ago

The North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station has developed and released ND Henson, a conventional soybean variety, according to Rich Horsley, chair of the NDSU Department of Plant Sciences.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.