Unicorns Are Real: The Vietnamese Saola
A Saola's Face Markings
Unicorns Are Real
In the depths of the Vietnamese Annamite Mountains lives a magical creature. The animal is a chestnut brown with a white stripe. It has a deer-like appearance, and an adorable fluffy tail. It’s eyes have harsh white lines, and, most distinctively, it has towering horns standing straight up from its head. Some say the Saola is a real life unicorn, hence its name, “Asian Unicorn”.
Saolas inhabit the forest of the Annamite Mountains between Laos, North, and Central Vietnam. Their habitat is very scarce, considering over 25,000 hectares of its forest have been lost in only a span of six years. The Saola is a gentle herbivore, mainly consuming fig leaves and other plants, nuts, and fruits near water sources. Saolas are most famous for their towering vertical horns, which can grow up to twenty inches and could easily impale you. The iconic horns are on males and females. The bovine-like animal has a very dark body, and unique white markings, especially on the face. Saolas have extremely thick skin for fighting, and is very active in the morning and afternoon. Saolas can almost never live in captivity. All except two captive Saolas died within a very short time of being in captivity, and scientists still don’t know why.
The main reason Saolas are endangered are because of cable snares set up by poachers, poachers who meant to catch other animals. They are sort of by-catch, just like dolphins and sea turtles. Another big reason for endangerment would be deforestation. Vietnam is logging and building at such a fast rate, and the forest can’t keep up. As a result, Saolas are having smaller and smaller habitats. Also, Saolas don’t breed a lot in the first place. There are so few of them, and only one baby is ever born to a mother. The number of saolas is estimated to be in the dozens, maybe even close to a hundred, but no more than that. In the past, there have been at least twenty Saolas in captivity, but nearly all of them have died.
Fortunately, a new organization has dedicated its cause to saving the Saolas. Save The Saola is not only trying to protect and repopulate Saolas, but also all the species of the Annamite Mountains, as a lot of its other animals are endangered. They are advocating and fighting for more protections to be put in place for the Saolas. They have also started a conservation breeding program, to try and boost the Saola population. Thankfully, Save The Saola is really trying their hardest to save these magnificent creatures.
I am deeply saddened that Vietnam and Laos has allowed the Saola to become critically endangered, and still haven’t put any protections into place. The Saola is so beautiful, and it doesn’t deserve to be endangered. I really hope Save the Saola is successful, or else the unicorn really won’t exist.
The Asian Unicorn is one of the most distinctive and unique animals out there. While Vietnam and Laos are great places, they are not very considerate of their endangered animals, especially the critically endangered Saola. While it may not seem like it, there is hope for this animal after all, thanks to Save The Saola Organization. I hope everyone helps to get the Saola population back on track, and let these graceful unicorns roam freely through the forest once again.
Saola Baby = Absolutely Adorable
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“Saola.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Jan. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saola.
“Will 'Asia's Unicorn' Survive? Hunting and Deforestation Continue in Vietnam Biosphere Reserve PART II.” Conservation News, Conservation News, 2 Oct. 2014,
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