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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)

(Newser) – 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.

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"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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