Rare ‘Asian unicorn’ spotted, dies after captureSeptember 17th, 2010 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS
London, Sep 17 (IANS) “Asian unicorn”, one of the world’s rarest animals, sighted in more than a decade, died after its capture by villagers in a Laos, conservationists said.
The critically endangered species, found in the mountains of Vietnam and Laos, was first discovered in 1992.
The animal, known as saola, which resembles North African antelopes, is more closely related to wild cattle and is so elusive it has been likened to the unicorn despite having two horns.
It has never been seen by conservation experts in the wild and the last confirmed sighting was from camera traps in 1999.
The animal is listed as critically endangered, with just a few hundred thought to exist in the wild, reports the Daily Mail.
Conservationists said that with almost nothing known about how to keep them in captivity, if the species vanish in the wild they will be extinct.
The Laos government said villagers in the country’s central province of Bolikhamxay captured the saola in late August and brought it back to their village.
When news of the capture reached the authorities, a team was sent, advised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), to examine and release the animal.
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Tags: captivity, cattle, central province, confirmed sighting, conservation experts, conservation of nature, conservationists, daily mail, horns, iucn, laos government, late august, mountains, north african antelopes, rarest animals, s central, saola, traps, unicorn, wildlife conservation society