The Saola is often referred to as the Asian Unicorn, despite having two horns on its head. It is often referred to as a unicorn due to how rare this animal is, with many people never even seeing one. In fact, this animal was not even documented until 1992. So let's look at what we do know about this near-mythical animal.
Physical Description and Behavior
The Saola is a pretty massive deer-like animal, measuring up to 5 feet tall and weigh over 200 pounds. They have two long horns protruding from their heads, measuring at 20 inches, or twice the size of their head.
Their body consists of a variety of shades of brown. A black stripe extends all the way down their back, with their bellies being a lighter shade of brown. Their tail is striped with brown, black, and cream colors. They have white spots on their face under some fairly large nodules, which may be used as a way to smell.
Habitat and Location
The Saola lives in the lowland Annamite Mountains of Laos PDR and Vietnam. They are very specific when it comes to the type of forests that they live in. For instance, they prefer wet evergreen forests with little dry season.
It is known as Critically Endangered according to the IUCN Red List, with as low as 25 individuals in existence. This number also seems to be on the decline, leaving them severely fragmented.
There are a lot of threats when it comes to these quadrupeds, such as deforestation and droughts, but the biggest threat seems to be hunting. People travel a lot to collect body parts of this rare animal and use them as trophies, so it is concerning whether their population can survive much longer.
Check out this video to get more information o the Saola