National zoo association answers call to help save the Asian “unicorn”
The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) has joined the fight to save one of the rarest species on the planet. BIAZA is one of a global community of zoo associations and their members who have generously contributed to support efforts to save the critically endangered saola, an antelope-like species. Recognised by conservationists as the last best hope to save this incredibly rare species, BIAZA has donated £50,000 ($70,000) towards a conservation breeding centre in Vietnam’s Bach Ma National Park.
In total, zoos and zoo associations around the globe have collectively donated or pledged more than $350,000 for the Saola Working Group’s urgent saola fundraising campaign.
“BIAZA zoos may not have saolas in their collections, but the UK and Ireland’s national zoo association understands the inherent value of this rare species and is demonstrating its clear commitment to wildlife conservation with its donation,” said Bill Robichaud, coordinator of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Saola Working Group (SWG).
The saola was discovered by science in 1992 in the Annamite Mountain range on the border of Laos and Vietnam. Although the SWG partnership has made advances in the protection of saola habitat, commercial poaching remains a significant threat, and has the saola teetering on the edge of extinction. It is estimated that fewer than 100 saolas survive in the wild.