The saola is arguably the rarest mammal on the face of the Earth. Dwelling deep in the forested mountains of Vietnam, the gentle, antelope-like animals were identified for the first time in 1992. Since then, there have only been a handful of documented sightings. They’re nicknamed the “Asian Unicorns” because of their near-mythological status.
The most optimistic estimates place the number of living saola at several hundred, while others place that number as low as just a few dozen.
Obviously, any sighting of such an elusive creature is cause for celebration. Recently, an image of a saola was successfully recorded by a camera trap — this is the first confirmed sighting since 1998, which had led many to conclude that the species was no longer in existence.
The WWF has been working tirelessly to help preserve the existence of these creatures, recruiting forest guards to combat traps and illegal hunting. Hopefully, these efforts will allow the saola — the first large mammal discovered by science in 50 years — to flourish.