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Scientists step up hunt for ‘Asian unicorn’, one of world’s rarest animals

The saola is so elusive that no biologist has seen one in the wild. Now they are racing to find it, so they can save it

Weighing 80-100kg and sporting long straight horns, white spots on its face and large facial scent glands, the saola does not sound like an animal that would be hard to spot. But it was not until 1992 that this elusive creature was discovered, becoming the first large mammal new to science in more than 50 years.

Nicknamed the “Asian unicorn”, the saola continues to be elusive. They have never been seen by a biologist in the wild and have been camera-trapped only a handful of times. There are reports of villagers trying to keep them in captivity but they have died after a few weeks, probably due to the wrong diet.

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