Rare 'Asian Unicorn' Captured in Laos

Sadly, it died shortly after capture
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2010 9:49 AM CDT
Updated Sep 19, 2010 2:30 PM CDT
Endangered Species: Rare Saola, or 'Asian Unicorn,' Dies After Being Captured in Laos
This undated photo released by the World Wide Fund for Nature shows a saola, location unknown.   (AP Photo/World Wide Fund for Nature)

Laos villagers caught a rare animal known as the “Asian unicorn,” only to have it die while in their care. No biologist has reported seeing a Saola, which actually has two horns, in the wild; all existing pictures have been taken by villagers or automatic cameras, the BBC reports. These villagers caught a male Saola in August, brought him back to the village, and notified authorities. By the time they got there, the animal was dead.

"The death of this Saola is unfortunate," says a conservation spokesperson. "But at least it confirms an area where it still occurs and the government will immediately move to strengthen conservation efforts there." The Saola, first declared a new species in 1992, resembles an antelope but is believed to be closer to wild cattle. It is listed as a critically endangered species.
(Read more Saola stories.)

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