No one had seen this funky-looking endangered ox in the wild for 15 years
The saola, a “long-horned ox” that looks, basically, like a deer that got vanilla ice cream all over its face, is really, really good at not being seen by humans. Or, at least, the type of humans who like to categorize and report sightings of rare, wild animals.
The saola first showed up on conservationists’ radar in 1992, when it was “the first large mammal new to science in more than 50 years,” says the Guardian. But the last time anyone reported seeing one in the wild was in 1999. In 2010, according to the WWF, a group of Vietnamese people captured one, but it died quickly. Conservationists know enough about the saola to say it’s probably not doing so hot in the wild, but not enough to say exactly how many there are in the world — could be hundreds, could be dozens. But no matter what, there aren’t a lot out there.
In September, one of the few saolas that are living out in the wild wandered by a camera trap that the World Wildlife Fund and the Vietnamese government had set up. So, hurray, it still exists! Now it’s just a matter of keeping them from walking into other kinds of traps.