The Saola - Sao la


The Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis was seleted as CeREC's flagship species. CeREC carries out Saola ecologilocal studies and Saola conservation actions with the aim to secure long-term survival of this "inspiring" species. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Dang, Deputy Director of CeREC has been a member of the Saola Working Group (SWG) since 2006 and CeREC now joins the conservation approaches developed by The SWG. Figure 1. The Saola (photo: httpwwf.panda.orgwwf_news)

Figure 2. Prof. Dr Nguyen Xuan Dang is making presentation at SWG Meeting.

Information below is cited from Annual Report 2015 of the Saola Working Groups

About Saola

The Saola is one of the rarest large animals on earth. Variously described as “beautiful”, “enigmatic” and “inspiring”, Pseudoryx nghetinhensis is a bovid in its own genus, and has been known to science only since 1992. Found only in the Annamite Mountains of Laos and Vietnam, it has declined to a status of Critically Endangered. Few animals are as phylogentically distinctive and so threatened with extinction, yet have so little conservation attention.

Conservation approach

The Saola Working Group is part of the Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. The SWG was formed in 2006 in recognition of the need for urgent, focused and coordinated action to save Saola from extinction. In 2009, the SWG held our first in-person meeting and commenced coordinated action. The Saola Working Group works collaboratively to conserve Saola in nature, and to leverage Saola as a flagship for conservation of the bio-cultural diversity of the Annamite Mountains as a whole. In 2015, the SWG continued to embrace the One Plan approach to the conservation of Saola. According to the IUCN Species Survival Commission: The One Plan approach to species conservation is the development of management strategies and conservation actions by all responsible parties for all populations of a species, whether inside or outside their natural range (Conservation Breeding Specialist Group ( In other words, the One Plan approach is the full integration of what were formerly often separate conservation tracks – captive breeding of animals as a guard against extinction and for future re-introduction and conservation of animals in the wild. Although captive breeding (aka conservation breeding) is an option of last resort, for a highly threatened species like the Saola, it is imperative to begin conservation breeding while there is still time for it to be successful and supportive of the species’ survival. The membership of the SWG has evolved to reflect the emphasis SWG now place on the One Plan approach – as of this writing, the expertise of ten of SWG members lies predominantly in the husbandry and conservation breeding of wild ungulates. The SWG implements four programs in application of the One Plan approach and to advance Saola conservation, both immediately and in the long-term:
1. Protection of Saola in nature
2. Conservation breeding
3. Mentoring and capacity building
4. Partnership building