Zoological Society of London – Saola Populations
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and partners are conducting community-based saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) population monitoring to increase targeted conservation.
The mystical saola is one of the world’s rarest mammals. It is so rare that scientists only discovered it in 1992. The saola occurs in the Annamite Mountains of Laos and Vietnam, a crucial area for biodiversity due to its unique ecosystem.
The greatest threat to this Critically Endangered species is hunting which is rife in the area. However, saola does not appear to be a targeted species – the majority of the deaths are caused by accidental trapping in snares.
Due to its elusive nature, identifying any remaining strongholds for the species is near impossible. As such, we have supported ZSL to work with a local university in Vietnam to do community surveys on historical and current sightings. This will identify where conservation effort should be focused and what areas should be targeted should captive breeding be required, as a last resort, to save the species from extinction.
ZSL and its project partners are members of the Saola Working Group, meaning their efforts will input into the wider plan to protect the species.