LAOS – A rare Asian unicorn was spotted and captured. Then, it mysteriously died.
An asian unicorn (also called a saola) is one of the world’s rarest animals. It was recently sighted in Laos for the first time in a more than three decades. This rare two-horned unicorn thrilled zoologists around the globe who flew to Laos to examine the animal. Unfortunately, the animal, an adult male, was dead. He apparently had been killed by someone or something.
The unicorn was photographed while still alive.
Unicorns were thought to be mythological creature, but there have been many sightings of unicorns over the centuries, and for some peculiar reason, most of them have been in the past decade.
The unicorn is known to be a beautiful animal that is peaceful and docile. Yet it is extremely difficult to capture a unicorn – many have tried, few have succeeded.
The Lao government announced that a few days ago villagers in the central province of Bolikhamxay captured a saola and brought it back to their village.
When news of the saola’s capture reached Lao authorities, the Bolikhamxay Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office immediately sent a team, advised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to examine the saola and release it.
“The government of Lao PDR and WCS are to be commended for their rapid response and efforts to save this animal. We hope the information gained from the incident can be used to ensure that this is not the last saola anyone has a chance to see,” said William Robichaud, coordinator of the IUCN Saola Working Group.
This is the first confirmed record of the species since two photographs of wild saola were taken in Laos by automatic camera traps in 1999.
The Saola was first discovered in 1992, in Vietnam near the country’s border with Laos. With its long horns and white facial markings, the saola resembles the antelope of North Africa, but is more closely related to wild cattle. Saola are secretive and so seldom seen (no biologist has ever reported spotting one in the wild) that they have been likened to mythical unicorns. S
Some speculate that a Chinese myth of a magical unicorn, the qilin, may have been derived from familiarity with saola in prehistoric China, although the species does not occur there today, if it ever did.
It is not clear why the villagers took the saola into captivity. After its death, zoologists took the carcass to Pakxan, the provincial capital, where biologists from the WCS and the Lao government preserved all parts for analysis, future study and reference. But when zoologist went to study the animal carcass last night, all the parts of the unicorn were missing. Gone without a trace.
Villagers immediately suspected the Unicorn Killer. As long has there have been myths about the unicorn, there have been similar myths about the Unicorn Killer, a unicorn hunter that is half-man and half-lion. Many in Asia say the Unicorn Killer exists but many in American doubt the claims. “We have no proof of any unicorns or unicorn killers,” said FBI agent Dennis Loudon.
who would kill such a beautiful animal? And why? And what happened to the body parts of the asian unicorn? Did the unicorn really exist? Are the pictures real?
The Lao Government strongly denies any claims that anyone in Laos has fabricated the pictures of the captured unicorn. “We had him in captivity. The unicorn was real.”
The mystery surrounding the Asian unicorn is just beginning… Is there a Unicorn Killer out there?