The saola is found in a number of protected areas in which conservation work is underway including the Vu Quang Nature Reserve, where the Ministry of Forestry in Vietnam has now cancelled its logging operations (9) and the Pu Huong Nature Reserve, where surveys have been undertaken (7). Within the Pu Mat National Park, many surveys on the distribution and ecology of the saola were carried out between 1998 and 2003, as part of the Social Forestry and Nature Conservation (SFNC) project (7). The Ministry of Forestry in Vietnam has also issued a ban on further capture, trade, or holding of these rare animals, given their apparent inability to survive captivity (2). The WWF Greater Mekong Programme has been actively involved in the conservation of this rare species, setting up initiatives like the Vu Quang Project, which endeavoured to improve the management of the nature reserve and support the livelihoods of local people (5). WWF has also been active in establishing three new adjoining protected areas for the saola in the southern part of its range, where it is actively working with local authorities and governments to protect the species. In 2003, WWF produced a documentary showing the plight of the saola, which was shown on Vietnamese television (6), and a research programme on the saola, undertaken by WWF, is ongoing, in an effort to design a survey and monitoring protocol for the species (8). Despite concerted conservation efforts, however, the future of this unusual bovid remains uncertain, and an ongoing battle to save it now ensues. Having evaded detection for so long, it would be a great shame to science, and to nature, if such a unique species should be lost forever.
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