Zoos from around the world have been proven themselves to be the most consistent supporters of saola conservation in recent years, even though saola – an elusive antelope-like species – have never been kept in zoos and, indeed, no biologist has ever seen one in the wild.
Twenty-five years since its incredible discovery in the Annamite Mountains of Laos and Vietnam, the saola is one of the world’s rarest large mammals and on the brink of extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), only about 750 individual saola may still exist – and that number is likely much lower, with maybe even fewer than 100 left.
That is why zoos worldwide are answering the call to help save the critically endangered animal from extinction by supporting a fundraising campaign to build the world’s first conservation breeding centre for the saola. The conservation breeding centre will be constructed this year in central Vietnam’s Bach Ma National Park and will give the species its last, best and only hope for a future.
Through a crowdsourcing initiative, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has pledged more than $11,000 in support of these efforts, led by the Saola Working Group and its partners. More than 20 other zoos globally are supporting the fundraising efforts.
Donations up to a total of $250 will be matched by the Global Wildlife Conservation. 0We are tremendously grateful to the zoos that are clearly demonstrating their commitment to conservation and to the future of this rare, beautiful animal.
Bill Robichaud, coordinator, IUCN Species Survival, Saola Working Group