Why are saolas becoming extinct?

The population of Saola seems to be in great danger, mostly because of the hunting pressure , that thins the already low number of these animals. Only 18 years after being introduced to the Western society, the Saola are on the brink of extinction. A stamp portraying a Saola.

One of the next things we wondered was, why is the saola going extinct?

Lets dig a little deeper. With less than 100 individuals remaining, the saola is in imminent danger of extinction caused by commercial snaring to supply the wild meat trade . Experts say that their only re maining chance of survival is the establishment of a captive breeding programme.

The saola is currently considered to be critically endangered . Its restrictive habitat requirements and aversion to human proximity are likely to endanger it through habitat loss and habitat fragmentation.

Why is the saola so endangered?

The Saola is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, which means it faces “an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild ”.

A common inquiry we ran across in our research was “Why is saola endangered?”.

Saola is threatened primarily by hunting, rather than habitat loss . The main hunting threat comes from commercial poaching, not subsistence hunting by local people . In Southeast Asia, most endangered species of wildlife are threatened by targeted offtake for the wildlife trade, either for bushmeat or traditional Asian medicine.

You should be asking “How can we save saola from extinction?”

We should figure it out. to save saola from extinction, we must rescue surviving individuals and provide a protected habitat for them . The last saola must be found, caught and transferred to captive breeding facilities located within the range countries. The first facility is currently being built in Vietnam (10).

Are there any saolas in captivity?

There are no Saolas known in captivity. Natural Saola densities have probably always been relatively low, but it is clear that Saola populations must also be unnaturally depressed, as populations of all wild animals larger than 20 kg in its range have been significantly reduced by human exploitation.

One way to consider this is the number of Saola subpopulations—defined as those in non-contiguous blocks of habitat—probably numbers 6 to 15, and none likely holds more than 50 animals. Consequently, total Saola population is undoubtedly less than 750, and likely much less.

One way to think about this is commonly referred to as the Asian unicorn, the saola has rarely been seen alive since its discovery and so is already considered critically endangered . Scientists have categorically documented saola in the wild on only four occasions to date.

What is happening to the saola?

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. “Only recently discovered, saola are already extremely threatened.

You might be thinking “Where did the saola come from?”

The answer is that this note is re-printed here and first appeared in Science, volume 357, page 1248. The saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis)—a primitive wild cattle species (1) endemic to the Annamite mountain range of Vietnam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR)—was first discovered in 1992 (2, 3).