Saola Facts

Saola Facts
Saola is a recently discovered species of large mammals. Scientific community heard about saola for the first time in 1992. This unique-looking animal lives only in the forests on the border of north-central Vietnam and Laos. Saola is also known as Asian unicorn because it is rarely seen in the nature and people sometimes think of saola like it is an imagined creature. Saola prefers life in dense forests that have good supply of running water (near the riverbanks). Although not much is known about saola, it is listed as critically endangered species due to accelerated habitat loss and hunt. Horns of saola are collected as a trophy while other parts of its body serve as ingredients in folk medicine.
Interesting Saola Facts:
Saola is a large animal that looks like antelope, but it is more closely related to bovine family. It can reach 59 to 77 inches in length and weight between 176 and 220 pounds.
Both males and females have long, sharp, parallel positioned horns that can reach 20 inches in length.
Body of saola is covered with red, brown or dark black fur. It has short, tricolored tail: brown at the top, beige in the middle and black at the end.
Saola is so specific in its appearance and behavior, that the whole new order has been created just for this animal.
Saola's skin is thick and it prevents serious injuries when two saolas collide during fight for females or territory.
Saola is herbivore (plant-eating animal). It eats fig leaves and other plant material (seeds, fruit and berries) that can be found near the riverbanks.
Saola is diurnal (active during the day) animal. It is the most active during morning and later in the afternoon.
Since saola shares its habitat with tigers and crocodiles, these species are considered to be its worst enemies.
Saola is usually solitary animal. They sometimes gather in herds of up to 7 animals.
Males are territorial. They roam over larger areas compared to females. Saolas use sticky, smelly substance produced in the maxillary gland to mark borders of their territory.
Saola migrate during the year from lowland forests toward the alpine mountains because of the lack of water and food.
Mating season of saola overlaps with season of monsoons. It takes place from February to March in Vietnam, and from April to June in Laos.
Pregnancy lasts between 8 and 9 months and ends with one baby (calf). Little is known about reproductive behavior of the saolas.
Scientists believe that saola lives between 8 and 11 years in the wild.
All information about saola was collected by observing 13 captive animals. Unfortunately, soala cannot survive long period in captivity and all except two captured animals died within the short period of time.

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