A creature known by many scientists and conservationists as the “Asian Unicorn” has been discovered, but unfortunately because of its weakened state in captivity it has died. The creature is so rare, the last one seen by human eyes was in 1999, and even that was only captured by trail cams as the creature passed by.
The Saola’s title as the “Asian Unicorn” is a bit of a misnomer since the creature really has two horns instead of one. It is mainly called the unicorn for its rare nature. But with the massive threat of the Saola becoming extinct, biologists are jumping on the opportunity to examine the carcass and help efforts to conserve the creature.
It’s strange to think the Saola hasn’t been seen even once since 1999 and yet still believed to exist widely. Despite this, other creatures which have been spotted several times in the past ten years have never received the same kind of protection and confirmation. Of course this is partially because a dead sample has never officially been discovered. Saola have been discovered once before dead, leading scientists to the conclusion that the creature, while critically endangered, has demonstrated that its populations are large enough to produce offspring and sustain itself.
Though it looks like an antelope, zoologists are saying the creature is more a distant cousin to dairy cows than unicorns. The creatures require very specific conditions to survive, and apparently don’t do well in captivity. Unlike many other species of endangered animals, they cannot be bred for conservation purposes as they don’t have any knowledge of a number of things the creatures might need including diet and suitable habitation.
Perhaps the strangest thing about this is to think that there has actually been a population of creatures in the wild that have not been spotted since 1999, and even in 1999 there was only a blurry photograph of the creature. This isn’t exactly front page cryptid news, but it does illustrate an extremely important point that creatures can go for several decades even in this modern era of Google Earth without being spotted. How many Bigfoot have, in that time been spotted? And how many chupacabra? It seems with creatures as rare as this one, the prospect of cryptozoology becomes extremely tempting.
The incredible species will have a rough road ahead of it if it is going to rebound and bring forth populations like its ancestors. At the moment populations are expected to be at a several century low with only a few hundred creatures in the wild still today. Still others suggest the actual population may be more like a couple dozen. By comparison there are an estimated 5,000 tigers in the wild and this species is also considered critically endangered. Unfortunately, the incident with the villagers has left an almost vanished population dwindling even more. Fortunately, the study of this one sample may give scientists the extra boost they need in research to possibly bring back the Asian Unicorn at some point in the future.