The Saola or Vu Quang ox, also, infrequently, Vu Quang bovid (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), one of the world’s rarest mammals, is a forest-dwelling bovine found only in Vietnam (Vu Quang Nature Reserve) and in Laos, near the Vietnam-Laotian border. Its name Saola means spindle-[horned]. The scientific epithet nghetinhensis refers to the two Vietnamese provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh while Pseudoryx acknowledges the animal’s similarities with the Arabian or African oryx. The Hmong natives call this beast saht-supahp, a term derived from Lao meaning “the polite animal”, because it moves quietly through the forest.Saolas have only been known to zoologists since 1992, initially from unusual horns obtained in Vietnam. Analysis of morphology and DNA has revealed that this is a new bovine genus, related to cattle, nyala, kudu, and elands. Saolas are antelopes, in the sense that an antelope is any morphologically primitive bovine. It is not known how many individuals exist, as only 11 have been recorded alive.In the past they were occasionally to be viewed at General Cheng‘s now-defunct zoo in Lak Xao, Laos.
Filed under: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED